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Maryland divorce lawyer Regina DeMeo changed the way she practices law after her own marriage ended.
Before her divorce, DeMeo took a businesslike approach when counseling divorce clients, the Washington Post reports. “OK, come on," she would think. "Get yourself together and let's move on."
Then DeMeo herself divorced after seven years of marriage, and she realized how divorce can be so shattering. Now DeMeo practices collaborative divorce and is president of the Collaborative Divorce Association, the Post story says.
DeMeo asks her clients to tell her the story of their marriage, and if she thinks there is any ambivalence about divorce, she’ll recommend counseling, the story says. If that isn’t an option, she recommends collaborative divorce, a negotiating process that takes place outside of court.
About a fourth of her clients opt for collaborative divorce. The divorcing couples are still represented by lawyers, and they aren’t forced into an agreement. But if they can’t agree, they have to hire new lawyers for the court case.
DeMeo says the collaborative process opens up the lines of communication and gives the divorcing couples decision-making power. “They feel like they own it because they're the final decision -makers,” she told the Post.