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How to Turn a Divorce Process into a Healing Process

Posted by Tonda Mattie | Mar 30, 2015 | 0 Comments

How do you turn a divorce process into a healing process? By envisioning your highest goals for what you want to accomplish during the divorce and after the divorce has ended.  This is what happens in a Collaborative Divorce process. Unlike the traditional divorce process where the focus is often what happened in the past, the collaborative divorce process focuses on the future.

At the commencement of a collaborative divorce, the divorcing couple identify and share their vision for a healthy divorce and a healthy life after divorce. Here are some of the visions couples have shared with me in my work as a Collaborative Divorce attorney.

Beth and Peter's Vision


  • For our children to see us co-parent with each other in a non-conflictive way.
  • For us to live in close proximity to each other while raising our children.
  • For us to live in stable environments while raising our children.
  • For our children's lifestyles to be affected as little as possible by our divorce within the resources available to us (e.g., emotionally and educationally; that we continue with the educational plans we have made for our children; that our children live in the same community).
  • For our children to have as much stability and security in their lives as they require.
  • For us to be fully involved with raising our children.


  • For both households to be financially resilient.
  • For us to develop independently in terms of financial security.
  • To have the flexibility in one's work schedule to be present with the children as their schedules require.
  • For Beth to have the opportunity to explore educational, training, and other career opportunities with the goal of becoming financially independent.
  • To respect the financial decisions made by us and our families, including the decision of Peter's family to leave him money.


  • For us to be in a co-parenting relationship our children can count on.
  • For us to be respectful of each other into the future.
  • For us to create a new, healthy family relationship with each other.
  • For us to look back on this difficult time in our shared life and be proud of how we handled a time of conflict and communicate it to our children when the time is right.

Erin and Matt's Vision (no children)

  • That we have confidence in the decisions we make.
  • That we make a transition to a friendly relationship when completed with the collaborative divorce process.
  • That we have a feeling of peace and resolution.
  • That we have a positive financial outcome that meets both of our needs.
  • That we both have financial security.
  • That the emotional distress of the divorce is minimized.
  • That we are able to promote cordial relationships with each other's extended family and mutual friends.
  • That we keep in mind the possibility that Erin will move out of the State.
  • That the settlement take into consideration Erin's need to finish school.
  • That Matt is able to remain in the homestead and maintain a reasonable budget.
  • That Erin is able to purchase a modest home and meet her living expenses.

Jeff and Ann's Vision

  • For our children not to feel divided.
  • For our children to feel comfortable with both of us.
  • For us to convey a sense of harmony to our children.
  • To have financial security for both of us.
  • To get along with each other after the divorce; to have mutual respect for each other; and to have a pleasant relationship.

Creating a vision of the future is the key to crafting settlements that achieve those visions.  And so the healing begins.

About the Author

Tonda Mattie

What I do I represent clients going through a divorce or other family dispute who want a resolution process that addresses their highest goals and aspirations and is positive, future-oriented, and cost-effective.  I listen to find out what is truly important to my client.  I offer wise counsel and legal advice that is creative but practical, realistic, and far-sighted.  I support and challenge my client to bring his or her best self to the problem-solving and decision-making table.  I educate my client to empower him or her to make informed decisions and to gain the most from the collaborative process.  I work hard to transform conflict resolution into a healing process. What you get a holistic approach to conflict and dispute resolution empowerment to find creative solutions that meet the legal, relational (emotional), parenting, and financial needs of all family members honesty, trustworthiness, and respect to maximize benefits and minimize harm to all who are involved advocacy to ensure that your legitimate needs and interests are met the most useful, neutral, specialized advice from an interdisciplinary team of collaborative professionals and experts cost-effective and value-added use of professionals and experts a legal and financial plan, a relational plan, and a parenting plan no court involvement other than processing the final legal documents Who I am My name is Tonda Mattie, and my law firm is Tonda L. Mattie, P.A.  In my own small way I hope to contribute to world peace one family at a time.  This is a notion I could not have had before I met Stu Webb, my Minnesota colleague who is the founder of Collaborative Divorce and the Collaborative Process.  His profound concept of avoiding the adversarial court process altogether and focusing solely on settlement changed the way I viewed the practice of family law and my own career.  Now, my efforts on behalf of my clients have a positive impact not only on the short-term circumstances of their divorce or dispute but on their lives as well.  I am at last in a career where I can truly make a difference. Admitted to practice law 1983, U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota 1979, Minnesota 1978, Illinois Education Southern Illinois University, J.D., 1978 University of Iowa, B.A. Psychology and Political Science, 1974 Practice history 2004 – present        : Collaborative Family Law 1992 – 2004: Family Law and Collaborative Family Law 1979 – 1992: Family Law and Employment Discrimination Memberships and awards Member, 1992 – present, President, 2005, and Board Member, Collaborative Law Institute, Minnesota Co-Chair, Training Committee, 2004 – present, Collaborative Law Institute, Minnesota Stu Webb Award, 2008, In Recognition of Outstanding Contribution to Collaborative Practice Minnesota Super Lawyer, Collaborative Law, 2006 – present Minnesota State Bar Association Hennepin County Bar Association (Member, Family Law Section) Chrysalis Women's Center Advisory Board Tubman/Chrysalis Women's Center, Volunteer Collaborative and related training The NEW Collaborative Experience, Tonda Mattie/CLI, 2011 Why Collaborative Practice Works: Neuroscience Tools & Techniques, Kimberly Fauss, Dr. Jan Hembree, 2010 Financial Intelligence, Financial Planning Assn., 2010 CLI Annual Conference, 2010 The NEW Collaborative Experience, Tonda Mattie/CLI, 2010 Point Counter-Point: Collaborative & Cooperative Law, Linda Wray/Nancy Zalusky Berg, 2010 Advanced Mediation Skills, Nina Meierding, 2010 Addressing Domestic Violence, Dave Matthews, 2010 IACP Conference "Reflections & Visions," Minneapolis, 2009 The NEW Collaborative Experience, Tonda Mattie/CLI, 2009 CLI Annual Conference, 2009 The Strategic Negotiator, Nina Meierding, 2008 IACP Conference "The Collaborative Community: Stepping Up and Reaching Out," New Orleans, 2008 "One Coach Model" of Collaborative Practice, Linda Solomon, 2008 2nd European Conference on Collaborative Practice, Cork, Ireland, 2008 The Collaborative Experience, Tonda Mattie/CLI, 2008 Generating Collaboration with Empathy, Emily Gould, 2008 Deepening Your Skills in the Neutral Coach Model, Linda Solomon, 2008 Parenting Plans: Empowering Your Clients to Effective Co-Parenting, Deb Clemmensen/CLI, 2008 Cooperative Practice: A New Technique for Successful Case Negotiations, Prof. John Lande, 2008 CLI Annual Conference, 2007 "Pathways to a Good Divorce" The Children's Perspective, Dr. Constance Ahrons, 2007 Child Specialist Protocol Training, CLI, 2007 IACP Conference "The Collaborative Mosaic," Toronto, 2007 The Collaborative Experience, Tonda Mattie/CLI, 2007 "Taking the War Out of Words," Sharon Ellison, 2007 Appreciative Inquiry for Team Building, Dr. Peggy Thompson, 2007 CLI Annual Conference "From Shallow Peace to Deep Resolution," Pauline Tessler, 2007 How to Calculate Child Support Under the New Law, MSBA, 2007 IACP Conference "The Care & Feeding of a Revolution," San Diego, CA, 2006 The Craft of Collaborative Law, Chip Rose video replay/Tonda Mattie, 2006 The Calling of Collaborative Practice, Dr. Susan Gamache, 2006 Effective Collaborative Communications, Dr. Susan Gamache, 2006 Basic Skills for Financial Professionals in the Collaborative Law Process, Tonda Mattie, Amy Wolff/CLI, 2006 Basic Skills for Coaches and Child Specialists in the Collaborative Law Process, Tonda Mattie, Deb Clemmensen, Terry Romonoff-Newman/CLI, 2006 The Craft of Collaborative Law, Chip Rose video replay/Tonda Mattie, 2006 The Collaborative Experience, Tonda Mattie/CLI, 2006 Interdisciplinary Collaborative Practice, Victoria Smith/Dr. Susan Gamach, Toronto, 2006 Advanced Collaborative Law, Chip Rose video replay/Tonda Mattie, 2005 Advanced Collaborative Law, Chip Rose, 2005 The Craft of Collaborative Law, Chip Rose video replay/Tonda Mattie, 2005 IACP Annual Conference "Coming of Age of Collaborative Practice," Atlanta, 2005 Mediation Training, Chris Leick, 2005 The Craft of Collaborative Law, Chip Rose, 2005 The Collaborative Experience, Tonda Mattie/CLI, 2005 Build Your Skills-Develop Your Practice, Tonda Mattie/CLI, 2004 The Nuts & Bolts of Collaborative Practice, Tonda Mattie/CLI, 2004 Collaborative Practice Workshop, 2004 IACP Networking Forum, Boston, 2004 Intermediate Collaborative Law Training, CLI, 2004 IACP Networking Forum, Vancouver, 2003 Advanced Collaborative Law Training, Tonda Mattie/CLI, 2003 Intermediate Collaborative Law Training, Stu Webb/CLI, 2002 Basic Interdisciplinary Training, Pauline Tessler, Milwaukee, 2002 Interdisciplinary Divorce Team Training, 2000 Eliminating Bias in Collaborative Practice, CLI, 1999 Basic Collaborative Law Training, Tonda Mattie/CLI, 1998 Basic Interdisciplinary Training, Tonda Mattie/CLI, 1998 Basic Collaborative Law Training, Tonda Mattie/CLI, 1997 Basic Collaborative Law Training, Stu Webb/CLI, 1995 Mediation Training, Hamline Law School, 1995 Trainee and Presenter, Collaborative Law Training: Basic Collaborative Law Training, Stu Webb/CLI, 1993 Personal interests Movies, movies, movies Long distance bike touring Avid reader of everything Contact information Phone: 612-866-9066 Fax: 612-866-9379 Email Us The law office of Tonda L. Mattie, P.A. welcomes clients from Minneapolis, St. Paul, and the surrounding Twin Cities area.


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Collaborative Practice

Tonda L. Mattie is a collaborative divorce attorney who abandoned the adversarial divorce process in favor of the collaborative approach more than 15 years ago. She brings more than 36 years of experience with divorce and family law to the settlement table.

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The law office of Tonda L. Mattie, P.C. welcomes clients from Minneapolis, St. Paul, and the surrounding Twin Cities area. Contact Us Today!