Category Archives: Resources

Sometimes I come upon insightful articles or websites or professionals or organizations that I think may be of help to those considering, engaging in or gone through divorce.

Full time Peacemaker

Some folks are taken aback when they hear from me, or from my web presence that I do NOT do any litigation anymore.  That I focus all of my efforts on supporting people in working together to find the answers that work for both of them.

My colleague and friend David Hoffman from Boston recently has a TED talk that expresses much of why I, and a growing number of others, have taken this approach.  InJoy!

Maybe if Santa tells you?

Sometimes I work with clients who firmly believe that “I know what’s best for the children.”  And then of course s/he and the other parent get into an argument over whose thoughts about “what’s best” will prevail.

I talk to them from my experience [not as a parent, but as a divorce professional], I refer them to mental health professionals. We tell them, sometimes to their chagrin, that what is BEST for their children is if the two of them work TOGETHER going forward.  They won’t be married anymore, but they MUST still be partners.

But I don’t think any of us could say it any better than does the Man in Red from this episode of Highway to Heaven:

 [You can see the whole episode here.]

“Maybe we should do away with the Family Courts….”

This rhetorical question is the closing line of a documentary film due to be released January 10, 2014.  “Divorce Corp.” summarizes some of the worst experiences of the Family Court system.  As I’ve said here before, I choose to not see the ‘system’ as inherently flawed, much less evil.  I’ve got to say, though that having seen an advance copy of the movie it makes a compelling argument to the contrary.

If you have any questions about why I and other Collaborative Practice professionals ask our own rhetorical question – “Do you really want to leave the decisions about your family in the hands of lawyers and a judge?” – viewing this film will answer them all.  You and I may not be able to ‘do away’ with the Family Court, or even improve it.  But by engaging with your spouse in a productive way in the Collaborative Practice process or Mediation, you can side step it.  If you are moving toward divorce, or know someone who is, I hope that you will check out this film.  And that you two will choose to use a process and reach decisions that actually work for YOU!

I’m honored to have been invited to participate in a Q & A panel following the film’s initial screening here in Chicago at the AMC Showplace Galewood 14 theater, January 10, 2014.  I’d love to address your questions there.  You can order tickets directly from the movie’s creators here.

Here is a trailer from the film:

A Divorce “Expo” ??

Why would you consider attending The Divorce Expo?  The Divorce Expo

We’re looking forward to hearing from the organizers of this event about when it will be coming back to Chicago.  We’ll let you know as soon as we do !

Well, let’s start off simply.  I’m been asked to be there to do a presentation on “Collaborative Divorce”, so I’d love to see you and your friends there learning about this constructive approach to dissolving a marriage.  You may not be heading toward divorce, but you may well know others who are.  If they are not ready or able to attend, you can do them a great service by doing so and sharing what you learn.  Or maybe you’ll just come with them for support.

But I won’t be the only person there and Collaborative Practice won’t be the only thing to learn about.  The Expo is described as being “…designed to give you opportunities to learn, share and discover how to take control of your divorce or separation. We want every one of our attendees to feel more confident about their future at the end of our time together.”

If you’re familiar with Collaborative Practice, you know that’s nearly a perfect description of our focus as professionals.  So the decision for me to accept the invitation was a very easy one.

The speakers will be addressing topics from single parenthood and co-parenting to financial planning and household organizing and transitioning to singlehood in a positive manner.

From the organizers:

The Divorce Expo™(TDE) will take place August 18th at the Hotel Arista, at CityGate Centre in Naperville.

“With 20,000 Illinois couples facing permanent separation each year, many thousands of people are in search of advice from experts in order to know what to expect and how to survive divorce.” said Christine McQueen, founder and CEO of Split Partners LLC, the organization sponsoring the event. “We’ve pulled all the expert resources together under one roof to help people gather the information they need. This unique event was very well received in Detroit last March so we decided to bring it to other Metro areas starting with Chicago.”TDE’12 offers access to a variety of exhibitors from across the Chicago metro area to showcase products and services in areas of finance, legal, real estate, divorce tools, parenting services, dating, fitness, health, interior design, career and more.

Private consultations, panel discussions and a variety of contests will be available to the attendees. Prize giveaways will also be awarded throughout the day. Prizes include a back to school gift basket, dining gift cards, or and a room makeover.

Conference registration starts at  8:30 am. The Conference runs all day through 6:30 pm on Saturday, August 18th. Early bird discount is $65 in advance and can be purchased through the The Divorce Expo™ website. A limited number of tickets will be sold at the door. Advance purchase is encouraged.  Admission includes all meals, access to all seminars, Social Sandbox events, and exhibits. Children 15 and under are not admitted.


Launching an online magazine dedicated to Collaborative Practice.

It is with great joy that Gloria Vanderhorst and I share with you the news that we are just launching “The World of Collaborative PracticeA Magazine Promoting Collaborative Dispute Resolution for the Full Range of Possibilities.”

This will be a free, online publication in which active discussion can take place as well.  In addition to articles, we will offer multimedia items as well including interviews.   Read more about it here.
This is definitely not a ‘professionals only’ publication.  We want the whole world to hear what you have to say!

Our first collection will publish on 11/1/11.  And we invite YOU to submit pieces for consideration.  See the guidelines here.    You can sign up here for our mailing list if you’d like to hear about our new articles and growth!

For more details, and to book mark the site, visit the magazine at:


Gloria Kay Vanderhorst, Ph.D.
Licensed Psychologist
8701 Georgia Avenue
Suite 713
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Phone:   301-578-8760Fax:  1-202-204-5659
Dupont Medical Building
1234 19th Street NW,
Suite 901,
Washington, DC 20036


Collaborative Practice Chicago
Divorce Without Warfare
carl Michael rossi, M.A. J.D., L.P.C.
Attorney, Mediator, Coach, Counselor

Executive Director, Collaborative Practice Professionals of Illinois

Parenting with your… EX?!?!

I hear people say, when their divorce is final, “I’m so glad I don’t have to deal with him/her anymore.”  While that is never really true [future post on that], it is most certainly inaccurate when you two have had children.

You want what’s best for your children.  And ALL the research indicates that what’s best for them is a continuing relationship with BOTH of their parents who themselves have a positive working relationship with each other.

“BUT S/HE MAKES ME CRAZY!?!?!?”, you say.  What can you do?  How can you work WITH this person whom you just divorced?  How can you keep your own temper in check, how can you keep from triggering his/her temper?  How do you get heard without believing you have to YELL, how can you get things done and decisions made without…it…taking……..for…ever?!

No one is saying you are a bad person if you can’t.  It’s understandable.  It’s, unfortunately all too common.  But if you want to be able to work with your ex, if you want to do what is best for you children, there is help available.

One source of such help is an upcoming free webinar being offered by Cat Zavis.  Ms. Zavis is an experienced coach and teacher of NonViolent Communication. She also happens to be an experienced divorce attorney who has a great deal of passion for helping people who are divorced work together for the benefit of their children.

Check out some details and register for her free webinar here:

If you are heading toward divorce and want to begin developing your ability to work WITH your ‘soon-to-be-ex’, there is NO better way than by moving through your divorce process using the Collaborative Practice Approach.  If you’re in Chicago, I’d be honored to discuss that with you.


Collaborative Divorce may seem risky, but it can be done!

I just finished reading a piece from the Harvard Business review about how to effectively ‘Collaborate’ with business associates.  With thanks to the author, I apply some of her thoughts to working with Collaborative Practice as a divorcing couple.

Collaborative divorce works by treating the couple, and their professionals as a Team.  The task at hand for the team is to reassign the responsibilities and obligations of the couple and and redistribute their assets and liabilities so that each of them AND their children can move forward with their respective needs being met as well as possible.  Not exactly a ‘simple’ task, bot one in which either the couple can see themselves as adversaries trying to ‘win’ or as team members working together toward overlapping goals.  In CP, we support clients in that latter view.

So what’s so difficult and ‘risky’ about working in Collaboration with your soon-to-be-ex?  It almost always comes to some question of Trust.  “How do I trust this person?”  It’s understandable and normal as a couple has moved toward ending their marriage, that there be, well an reduction in the amount of trust between them.  And yet, they need to trust each other enough to work together at the tasks at hand.  How do they do that?  As it was put in the article that moved me:  “How do we lay the groundwork for trust so that when we need to collaborate we can quickly slip into a workable partnership?”  She offers four thoughts that I’ll use as a starting point:

1. “Start with simple exchanges where the cost of betrayal is low.”  As with most of the process, you’ll work with especially the involved Mental Health professionals to find a starting place.  What’s a topic where you DO trust the other person?  There is one….even if it’s only scheduling a next meeting and trusting that s/he will show up.  Another good one will involve gathering documents that relate to finances.

2. “Remember that our collaborators are competent”  You know full well what you’re soon-to-be-ex is good at.  Step aside for a moment from the normal desire to paint him/her as a complete fool, so that you both can benefit from what s/he is good at.  Do this also with your professionals!

3. “Don’t take advantage of our collaborators’ deficiencies.”  You also know what s/he is not so good at.  It doesn’t help you to call attention to wait for him/her to mess up and then to call attention to it.  Really, if they’ve been really bad at remembering tasks, don’t sit in the wings for them to forget something so that you can say “See!!”  Try pretending that s/he isn’t going to do it on purpose.  Instead, raise it in private with your professionals so that they can come up with ways to bolster the deficiency…so that you both benefit.

4. “Give others their due, and expect yours in return.”  When your soon-to-be-ex does something, don’t just take it as a given.  Even worse, don’t treat it as an unexpected surprise!  Instead, recognize that you two are working together and that every you or s/he does to accomplish your goals benefits you both.  Acknowledge it as such.  A simple ‘thank you’ can go a lot further than a ‘fiiiiiinally!’

If you think this sounds difficult, I encourage you to think about what is at stake here.  Your marriage is ending, but engaging in Collaborative Practice with your soon-to be-ex is about giving yourself the best chance at starting your post-marriage life positively.  It may not be easy, but aren’t you worth it?



K.I.S.S. Your Marriage Goodbye

Keep It Civil and Save

Okay, you were expecting a different KISS….and I cheated a bit on that first S.  I hope you’ll forgive the liberty and read on.

Your divorce is not a simple process.  No matter how ready you may be for it to be over, there are decisions that must be made and several of them require considering the needs of several people and various possibilities all at once.  And many of them touch us emotionally.  [There’s a surprise, right?]

And often the emotions that come up will urge you to blame, criticize or even directly insult your soon-to-be-ex.  You may believe you are completely justified in doing so.  Everything you want to say to or about him/her might even be completely factually accurate.  Still, work to keep yourself from doing so.  No matter how much you want this to be ‘over with already’, or even how much you want him/her to ‘pay the price’ for his/her misdeeds, you will SAVE if you Keep It Civil.

What will you ‘Save’?

  • Your sanity – It will make you quite crazy when you see that the angry or hurtful things you say and do not only don’t get you closer to where you want to be, but might even take you farther away.  Honestly, it will.
  • Your children – At some point your children will resent you for the venom you have spewed at their other parent.  It doesn’t matter that you did it ‘to protect them’.  Children neither want nor need to be kept from either of their parents.  And they really do not do well when their parents don’t work well together.  You don’t have to love each other, but you DO and WILL need to work together when it comes to your children.
  • Your assets – Nothing drives up either the duration or the cost of a divorce more than how much a couple fights.  If you can at least treat each other civilly, you can keep a better handle on both.

How do you stay ‘Civil’ when all you want is out, when s/he is such a jerk, when you are afraid of whether you’ll be able to make it…..??? It isn’t easy.  This is why I engage in the Collaborative Practice approach.  It affords the couple who chooses it as much support as they need to maintain their civility so that they can each keep their focus on making decisions and crafting an agreement that will WORK for each of them.  I hope you’ll consider it.

[A colleague of mine has a little book called The Secret to a Friendly Divorce in which he expounds on some of the not always obvious benefits of treating your soon-to-be-ex with respect.  You can check it out here.]

Thoughts?  Comments?  Feel free to contact us directly!