Collaborative Divorce: Healing Solutions for Restructuring Families

March 19th, 2008Bert DempseyAttorney Sat Tara Khalsa, LPCTodd McMillenAttorneyHost: Barry Erdman

About the Presentation

As ministers and psychotherapists, we sometimes deal with people going through divorces. Sometimes, attorney involvement is appropriate, yet we don’t want our clients to experience the emotional harm so common in litigation. In this presentation, we will hear from two collaborative attorneys and a collaborative coach/facilitator. They will explain exactly how the process works, how it is more protective of the clients than proceeding without attorneys, what cases are appropriate for this process, and how to begin the referral. The collaborative movement is cutting edge, growing and involves utilizes a new, subtle and constructive paradigm.

The Collaborative Divorce model views divorce as the restructuring of the family, not a battle to be won or lost. Instead of litigation, it empowers and supports parties to reach their own solutions. It provides the benefits of attorney assistance while avoiding the negative atmosphere of litigation. The attorneys, and other team members (coaches, mental health professionals and/or financial specialists), are trained in non-adversarial conflict resolution. The Collaborative Divorce Process embodies civilized, respectful communication and protects the children from the harm associated with conflicted divorce.

About the Presenters

Bert Dempsey has been practicing law since 1983. Following his own divorce in 1991 he began to accept dissolution of marriage cases. Following mediation training in 1996, Bert began his mediation practice. Since then he has focused on the non-adversarial resolution of divorce cases.

Collaborative law is the resolution of cases in which the conflicted parties agree not to litigate but do retain attorneys trained in the model. Bert attended the first Collaborative Law training in Colorado in 2001 and since that time has included the Collaborative model in his practice. This model is particularly suited for any situation in which the parties desire to maintain an ongoing relationship.

Bert is a founding member of both the  Rocky Mountain Collaborative Divorce Professionals; in Denver and the Collaborative Divorce Professionals of Boulder, both groups being comprised of  psychologists, attorneys, financial consultants, child & family experts and other professionals.

Bert is a former member and chairperson of the board of directors of Blue Sky Bridge, a non-profit organization assisting children and families dealing with childhood sexual abuse. Bert volunteered as a Court appointed special advocate CASA for Voices for Children from 1991-97. He is the father of a wonderful 19 year old.

Sat Tara Kaur Khalsa, M.S., L.P.C., is a licensed psychotherapist in Boulder, Colorado with over 30 years experience in helping families in crisis, particularly divorce. She has been a mediator for the past 8 years and is on the faculty of the Institute for Advanced Dispute Resolution. She has performed evaluations for the court systems in Colorado and Illinois for 18 years regarding parenting time and decision-making. She has extensive experience in handling hundreds of cases of child abuse and neglect and sexual abuse. She is a former board member of the Boulder Interdisciplinary Committee on Child Custody Issues. Sat Tara received training in Collaborative Family Law in 2002 and has helped train attorneys in numerous presentations in collaborative divorce for the Boulder County Bar Association.

Sat Tara is certified in Neuro-Linguistic Programming and trained in Ericksonian Hypnotherapy. She is a graduate of Smith College where she was a First Group Scholar. Sat Tara authored the book ‘Divorce Survival and Recovery’ (1995) that details 30 techniques to use during the loss of a relationship. She recently produced three CDs on managing emotions including: ‘Handling Anger’, ‘Freedom from Fear’, and ’10 Keys to Motivation’. Sat Tara has maintained an interest in reflective practice for the past 40 years. She is married and has two teenage children (where reflective practice comes in handy!). Sat Tara is interested in interdisciplinary approaches to conflict resolution and has, for example, given presentations in the use of metaphor in mediation and in collaborative divorce, Aikido as a body-based reference for handling high conflict clients, and the use of reflective practice in mediation. She has been a Sikh since 1972 and a minister since 1981. In 2005, Sat Tara founded the Women’s Global Forum, a consortium of over 80 organizations and individuals working to alleviate worldwide suffering.

Todd McMillen has had a private law practice in Boulder County since 1995, specializing in family law, and has been licensed in Colorado since 1980. He has been trained in, and working in the area of Collaborative Law since 2002. He is a former board member of Colorado Collaborative Law Professionals, the state-wide organization of lawyers, mediators, mental health professionals and financial professionals working on Collaborative Divorce. He is a member of Rocky Mountain Collaborative Divorce Professionals practice group and the Boulder Collaborative Law Professionals practice group. He is also a board member, and the Treasurer, of the Boulder Interdisciplinary Committee on Child Custody. Early in his legal career, he served a stint on the bench of the Municipal Courts of Crested Butte and Gunnison, Colorado.

Additional Resources

The mission statement of the Collaborative Law Office is:
To help divorcing families avoid unnecessary pain, expense and conflict through a collaborative process that acknowledges that it is the parties themselves, with guidance from their advisors, who are best qualified to determine their future and the future of their children.

Bert Dempsey
Attorney / Mediator
The Collaborative Law Office of Bert Dempsey
Boulder, CO

Sat Tara Kaur Khalsa can be reached at: 303-530-7080.
[email protected]

D. Todd McMillen
Attorney at Law
287 Century Circle, Suite 201
Louisville, CO 80027
Ph.: (303) 665-5575
Fax: (303) 665-2741

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