Television shows and movies often depict divorces as being highly contentious. Each party does his or her best to make the other one pay, both financially and emotionally. In real life, it does not have to be that way. Many couples are now doing their best to divorce with their own dignity intact and with respect for their ex-spouse. They work together so they can effectively co-parent in the future and perhaps have lasting relationships with both sides of the family.

Considerations for Divorce with Dignity and Respect    

One of the most important things each party needs to be aware of is the need to be transparent. Avoid surprises. Neither party should make any unilateral decisions about any aspect of the divorce, for example about finances, childcare, or any matter. Instead, have an open and honest conversation with your spouse about your needs related to those issues.  Invite your spouse to share their own thoughts about those issues as well. Once you each understand one another’s goals around an issue, you can brainstorm solutions together.

Even if both parties agree a divorce is in their best interest, ending a relationship involves feelings of loss and a grieving process.  In my experience, it is rare for both parties to go through the grieving process at the same pace.  For example, the spouse starting the divorce may have already completed the grieving process, while the other spouse is just beginning to go through it. Both spouses need to keep in mind that it is difficult to be fully present and respectful when going through the grieving process.Dignity and divorce

When this happens, my advice is to slow down. Respect one another’s pace. Imagine yourself five years down the road, looking back on your divorce and how you want to feel about the process.  Think about how you would like your children to tell their friends about their experience of their parents’ divorce. This exercise can help you stay focused on achieving a positive outcome and inform your decisions along the way.


How a Collaborative Divorce Assists Couples to Divorce with Dignity and Respect.

At the beginning of a Collaborative Divorce, the couple commits to first avoiding contentious litigation and to treat each other with respect.  The parties work together to build their Collaborative team, who will help them stay on track.  In addition to each spouse having their own Collaboratively trained attorney, there are neutral professionals that can also help with this, such as divorce coaches, child specialists, financial specialists, and mental health professionals.

At Bridges Collaborative Divorce Solutions, we are a group of independent family professionals who are all separately licensed or certified in various professions. We are lawyers, divorce coaches, and mental health specialists. Our group also includes child specialists and certified divorce financial advisers [CDFA]. We are all dedicated to helping you divorce with dignity and respect.


Joanna “Jo” Posey, Attorney at Law / Mediator
Posey Legal, PC
3115 NE Sandy Blvd., Ste 222
Portland, OR 97232

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Email Jo



COVID-19 is guiding us to see inefficiencies and find new ways to help ourselves and others.  We hear a lot about energy efficiency in cars and conserving fuel usage.  But we don’t think as much about energy as our life force and conserving it for times like this when we need it to survive, thrive and evolve.

COVID-19 causes us to share experiences of pain that test our resilience and make us more compassionate. Responding to that pain in ourselves and others takes efficient use of our life energy.

Collaboration is a concept of importance as we move through this phase of growth to make what we do for work effective and efficient.  Changes in the law have been slow but Collaborative practice is cutting edge.  With COVID-19, adaptation to current needs has been swift.  What was started a few decades ago as a new way to practice law and settle cases is accelerating right now.  We at Bridges Collaborative Divorce Solutions are building on a process that is already well established in our collaborative practice group.  We have been together learning, developing and sharing with the broader legal community for over 10 years.

What development has COVID-19 accelerated in collaborative divorce settlement – whether it be collaborative process, mediation or consultation and coaching?


Zoom Meetings make communication efficient, focused, personalized and more frequent.  It’s surprising the difference it makes meeting with your lawyer, coach or financial neutral in your home or office without having to take the time and experience the stress of traveling to an office to do the same thing. Going to an office, sitting in a waiting room and around a conference table is impersonal and adds to an already stressful situation.  It saps your time and energy.  Meetings can be more spontaneous, frequent, timely and efficient.

Software makes the “back office” of settlement practice more efficient in time and cost.  These benefits are passed on to the consumer. One of our members, Forrest Collins, has developed a program that helps lawyers draft pleadings more efficiently and thoroughly. Please visit

Practice Management Systems provide organization, clarity and security to the tasks of client service.

Cloud based communication products that coordinate email with document and exhibit preparation and storage make a paperless process that can be fully accomplished with only a laptop and access to Wi-Fi.

Electronic signatures and electronic court filings make trips to law offices or the courthouse unnecessary.

Skill Development:

Professional organizations of collaborative professionals are working constantly to help each other develop improvements and skills to bring peacemaking to the law.  They include our local practice group of Bridges Collaborative Divorce Solutions; the statewide group of Oregon Association of Collaborative Professionals; and the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals

Resilience, difficult conversations, collaborative career coaching, the cross-generational effect of adverse childhood experiences, visioning for your financial future. These are all things we train in and you will see discussed in our blogs click on this link These are life changing, evolutionary ideas, methods and  cutting edge approaches to helping families through conflict. We are constantly training.


It’s all about collaborating with others.  Teamwork reduces stress, improves resilience and results in constant improvement.

That’s “Divorce Evolved” and WE MEAN IT.

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