Divorce at Altitude: A Podcast on Colorado Family Law

Revisiting The Positive Divorce Movement and Better Apart Method with Gabrielle Hartley | Episode 164

August 10, 2023 Ryan Kalamaya & Amy Goscha Season 1 Episode 164
Divorce at Altitude: A Podcast on Colorado Family Law
Revisiting The Positive Divorce Movement and Better Apart Method with Gabrielle Hartley | Episode 164
Show Notes Transcript

A divorce process can often be physically and emotionally draining for both parties and children involved, especially if the case goes to trial. In this re-broadcasted episode, Ryan Kalamaya and Gabrielle Hartley sit down to discuss the positive divorce movement and her Better Apart Method, which are changing how people think about divorce. They also highlight the importance of finding amicable solutions during separation.

They explore various topics, including the adverse effects of litigation and conflict in a divorce, how to avoid conflict in the divorce process, and when a mediator realizes that a case might need to go to trial. They also discuss the steps a mediator can take to ensure that an agreement sticks.

About Gabrielle Hartley
Gabrielle Hartley, Esq., is a leading online mediator and family law attorney known for keeping 99% of her cases at the settlement table.  She  is the author of Better Apart; The Radically Positive Way to Separate  which received a glowing recommendation from Gwyneth Paltrow and People Magazine.

Before opening the Better Apart® Blitz Online Divorce Mediation Gabrielle clerked in matrimonial court in NYC where she resolved HUNDREDS of high conflict divorces.

She is a sought after expert in the positive divorce space in media outlets such as The New York Times, The New York Post, Real Simple, Vice and many others as well as a frequent podcast guest.She's a regular guest on NBC Mass Appeal.  Gabrielle is the incoming co-chair of the American Bar Association Mediation Committee.

Gabrielle trains divorce professionals in the Better Apart Method Online to help other lawyers and mediators to keep more cases out of court.  Gabrielle is also of counsel to a top litigation firm in New York City.  Learn how to work with Gabrielle at gabriellehartley.com.

What is Divorce at Altitude?

Ryan Kalamaya and Amy Goscha provide tips and recommendations on issues related to divorce, separation, and co-parenting in Colorado. Ryan and Amy are the founding partners of an innovative and ambitious law firm, Kalamaya | Goscha, that pushes the boundaries to discover new frontiers in family law, personal injuries, and criminal defense in Colorado.

To subscribe to Divorce at Altitude, click here and select your favorite podcast player. To subscribe to Kalamaya | Goscha's YouTube channel where many of the episodes will be posted as videos, click here. If you have additional questions or would like to speak to one of our attorneys, give us a call at 970-429-5784 or email us at info@kalamaya.law.



Ryan Kalamaya (3s):
Hey everyone. I'm Ryan Kalama

Amy Goscha (6s):
And. I am Amy Goscha

Ryan Kalamaya (7s):
Welcome to the Divorce at Altitude. A Podcast on Colorado. Family Law.

Amy Goscha (12s):
Divorce is not easy. It really sucks. Trust me I. know Besides. being an experienced divorce attorney, I'm also a Divorce client.

Ryan Kalamaya (20s):
Whether you are someone considering Divorce or a fellow Family Law attorney, listen in for weekly tips and insight into topics related to Divorce co-parenting and Separation in Colorado. Welcome to another episode of Divorce at Altitude. This is Ryan Kalamaya, your co-host and solo host for today. This week I'm joined by Gabrielle Hartley. She is a family lawyer and mediator author extraordinaire. And we're gonna talk with Gabriel about her story. Gabrielle first, welcome to the show. Thank

Gabrielle Hartley (56s):
You so much. So nice to be here.

Ryan Kalamaya (58s):
So for those listeners who don't know who you are, you've editor and author of the Better Part Blog and you've written a book. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Sure.

Gabrielle Hartley (1m 8s):
So my name's Gabrielle Hartley. I have been an attorney and mediator for a little over 25 years. When I went to law school, the last thing I ever wanted to do was be a family lawyer, which is kind of funny. If you followed my whole trajectory. My parents divorced when I was nine and my brother was six, and it was the eighties. And I changed houses between the two of them every day, and they had shared custody before. That was a thing. And they were kind of like the braggy, oh, we are such a highly functional, divorced family. And you know, we were sort of seen as like weird because everyone got along so well. And you know, I really never liked that whole narrative of being from a broken home. I never felt like my home was broken. And when I was about 30, I got a job for Judge Sunshine in New, York City clerking for him, where I was suddenly thrown into a courtroom environment where day after day there was just so much havoc and drama, which was brought about by the process.

Gabrielle Hartley (2m 3s):
And I think the lawyers and unfortunately, and the media and expectations and So I just loved resolving the hardest cases. I always said, you know, I, I always say to people like, I'm really bad at so many things, but I am great at resolving the impossible to resolve cases. And so that's when I started to mediate full-time. And I wrote this book called Better Apart The Radically Positive Way to Separate, which I was very excited to receive a cover endorsement from Gwyneth Paltrow. And it was in People Magazine and all kinds of stuff like that called the Conscious Uncoupling. How to thank you to Catherine Woodward Thomas for thinking of that title. And I'm all about mindfulness through and beyond your Divorce.

Gabrielle Hartley (2m 46s):
And for people going through Divorce, remembering that your lawyers are there to extricate your financial entanglements and to figure out how you're gonna manage your children. And that's it. They, many of them are not going to be thinking about the collateral damage that may be caused by the process. Many of them may not be thinking about how this may impact you, how this process may impact you psychologically, emotionally, how it can take a toll on your life. That is not to say that they are not well-intentioned, amazing, smart spirited, cool people. Most of my best friends are family lawyers, so I'm not like trash talking family lawyers. And at the same time, I'm saying you as a litigant, if you are a litigant, just be aware that your lawyer's job is to protect your money and to help to get you as much time as you want or need with your children.

Gabrielle Hartley (3m 35s):
And that's sort of the four corners of their job. I mean, Ryan, you know, let me know if I'm missing something here, but ultimately you are the one who's in charge. The client is in charge, but you just need to know what you want really clearly go, I'm sorry, Ryan, I asked you a question I talking as I want do.

Ryan Kalamaya (3m 52s):
No, you're absolutely right. But you know, Colorado, I mean you're licensed in, in Massachusetts in New, York, and Colorado is a little bit unique. And it was a recent development in that there is an ethical requirement for lawyers, Divorce lawyers to essentially advise litigants in a Divorce about the potential adverse effects of litigation on children. It's really unique, but we see that, you know, all family lawyers see that somewhat, but they don't really, they're not living it unless, I mean, my partner, she went through a Divorce and I've represented a number of lawyers, but until it's your actual life, you don't really see the impact on the children when you're talking about litigation. Yeah.

Ryan Kalamaya (4m 32s):

Gabrielle Hartley (4m 32s):
So what I'd say is like the Divorce is not the thing that causes the adverse impact. It's the Conflict that causes the adverse impact, right? And so to the degree that you're able to have less Conflict, the the better your kids will be. It's, you know, research shows that living in a high Conflict environment is worse than living in two households where people get along reasonably well. Even if they're just parallel parenting, you know, they're sort of in their own lanes. It's better than being exposed to the constant fighting And I just think that, that there is so much focus on how many transitions kids have in a week. And, I think that's really missing the point. It's about how much fighting they're, that they're going to be exposed to.

Gabrielle Hartley (5m 14s):
Now, I will tell you as I started to mention to you offline, is that, you know, sometimes litigation is necessary. And, I know that, you know, I worked for a long, long time in a private practice doing litigation and for a judge where we saw all these cases, And, today I am of counsel to a major New, York, City law firm actually for Li Lisa Zeidman. And you know, if you're dealing with someone who's not gonna turn over their finances, if you don't have full disclosure or if you know there are certain things going on and you have to go to court, you don't need to beat yourself up over it. you know, it just, it happens and it's okay. And, and you could always exit the court process too. Like once you get all that discovery, you're, you're not losing anything to not go all the way to the finish line hearing, having the stranger in black robes decide your life.

Gabrielle Hartley (5m 60s):
You can still go back and have a Mediation assisted meeting with your two lawyers present. I do that all the time for people. And it's a really nice way to sort of tie up a complicated situation.

Ryan Kalamaya (6m 11s):
Yeah. For listeners that maybe deciding to go through a Divorce or they're in the middle of a Divorce or for Divorce lawyers, for Divorce professionals, from your perspective, Gabriel, what's the difference between a case that is appropriate for litigation versus one that would be better for Mediation? And that is said with the caveat that in Colorado you're almost always gonna have to go through Mediation. There are some exceptions if there's domestic violence involved, you know, a party can basically say it shouldn't be required to go to Mediation, but in Colorado it's a requirement in most jurisdictions to even get a hearing. But I mean, I was in a Mediation yesterday and the mediator just showed up and said, this is a check the box Mediation because he knew that the issues we, we were not gonna be able to, to reach an agreement.

Ryan Kalamaya (6m 58s):
So in that circumstances, from a mediator's perspective, when do you see situations where you're like, this just needs to be litigated?

Gabrielle Hartley (7m 5s):
First off, I'm gonna say 9.7 cases out of 10. If you have lawyers who are skillful in helping you to get a strong understanding of your finances and of your range of outcomes if you were to go to trial, most cases are appropriate for Mediation. So, and you can ask me any question about, well what about this, what about that? Right. I just had a, a phenomenally complicated bi, bi-coastal issue come up in a A case they were about to go to trial and we had about 15 hours of Mediation and ultimately, you know, they said forget it, we're going to trial. And then at the last moment they reached a resolution, which was exactly in line what we spent 15 hours processing.

Gabrielle Hartley (7m 46s):
And that might sound brutal, but they saved so much more time than you could imagine for listeners who are thinking like, oh, 15 hours, I might as just go to trial. No, no, no, no, no, no, no. Like trial is so much more than 15 hours. There's so much prep time, there's so much waiting around time, there's so much BS time and, and then there's, I don't know about in Colorado, but in certain jurisdictions you have to write your proposed findings, your judgment, you know, all that kind of stuff. So mostly everything can be mediated. What cannot be mediated is ignorance. Like if you don't know what your rights are, if you don't have all the assets, if you don't have everything evaluated, appraised squared away, you're gonna make mistakes.

Gabrielle Hartley (8m 26s):
And chances are you're gonna live to regret that. Maybe you just wanna be done. Maybe you're dealing with someone who is completely oppositional or violent. Well you, you, I mean, I will say if the person is episodically violent and not too controlling, it could be okay with a lawyer in the online platform doing an online Mediation. Because for instance, I do a lot of breakout rooms where there's the attorney and a client in one breakout room or they're, they might be in two different locations. And then you never have to have that uncomfortable conversation in the parking lot before you're going into the Mediation. Right. You, so you have the sense of seeing what, what I can't give you. Yeah. And some of that nuance that people say, oh well if it's not face-to-face, we lose some nuance.

Gabrielle Hartley (9m 8s):
you know what, in some cases losing the nuance is actually a good thing because there's not that power. Sure.

Ryan Kalamaya (9m 13s):
Oh absolutely.

Gabrielle Hartley (9m 14s):
But you know, as a mediator, I can't give you a order. Right. Everything has to be agreed upon. So if you have someone who's just gonna delay, delay, delay, you have to go to court. Or if you have somebody, you can't get them into the Mediation session, you have to go to court mostly everything else can be mediated, can be resolved. Even if you have someone, you know, they, the word narcissist is thrown around so much, it kind of drives me crazy. Not everybody is a narcissist, although I think there is value to have this sort of catchall phrase, you know, whether you're malignant narcissist you're dealing with, or a covert narcissist or whatever label you've putting on them. Sometimes people are just anxious and reactive and a little selfish and you can still mediate with them.

Gabrielle Hartley (9m 55s):
you know, I always say I'm, I'm not a magician, but most cases when everyone is ready to resolve, it will resolve.

Ryan Kalamaya (10m 2s):
So Gabriel, you mentioned, you know, when and the people are, are ready to mediate. Can you talk a little bit about, from your observation, the issues in terms of being emotionally ready? Yeah, you

Gabrielle Hartley (10m 15s):
Know, it, it's, it's funny, when I created the better part, Blitz Mediation, which is these like sort of flat rate Mediation packages, And I was doing my market research. I noticed a lot of people were sort of categorizing their Mediation packages by like how much money you had or how many kids you have or how long you've been married. But I think it's all about how well you can communicate with each other, how ready you are to be done, how much, sometimes it's like, how much work have you missed? How many sleepless nights have you had? For some people it's, you know, how much money have you wasted? Even if you have crap, tons of money. Nobody wants to waste money on lawyers. Like, it doesn't matter if you have $70 million, why do you wanna spend 20,000 extra?

Gabrielle Hartley (10m 57s):
You don't. It's really all about when people are done and they, sometimes it takes being beaten up by a judge. You know, if you don't get your way in court, I find that that will bring somebody to the table. Or when people start to notice that their lawyers are fighting more than they're fighting, that will bring them to the table. I don't know if you've noticed this, but I've noticed that back when I was practicing, when people agree when their lawyers get along too well and they reach an agreement too quickly, sometimes a few months later they're back in court over some nonsense because they still had stuff emotionally that they wanted to work out with each other. And so as a lawyer, as a mediator, like I think we all have to be careful about letting the clients sort of dictate when they're ready and not push that.

Ryan Kalamaya (11m 44s):
I think that's a really tricky balance. And I certainly seen that here in Colorado, there's a lookback period, So, we, I call it Divorce remorse, where someone will go through a Divorce and then they will question whether or not they got a, a good or bad deal and then they'll arrive at two or three years later that they didn't get a good deal and they will open up the Divorce because they will claim that they didn't have disclosures. And obviously sometimes that does happen. But in Colorado there's been a, it's a relatively new rule. And so there have been some appellate cases where if someone didn't get all of the P and LSS or the last three years of balance sheets and they will reach an agreement at Mediation and then a couple years later say, that wasn't fair, I'm gonna open it all up.

Ryan Kalamaya (12m 35s):
And so as a Divorce lawyer, I see one of my primary jobs of making sure that an agreement that is reached sticks. And I'm wondering what your thoughts are with that from a Mediation perspective. 'cause people can reach an agreement, but everyone's goal is not to come back and re-litigate their Divorce. This episode is brought to you by our law firm, Kalama, Goscha, Amy And I describe our law firm as an innovative and ambitious trial team that pushes the boundaries to discover new frontiers in family law, personal injuries in criminal defense, in Colorado. We currently have offices in Aspen, Glenwood Springs, Edwards, Denver, and Boulder.

Ryan Kalamaya (13m 20s):
If you wanna find out more, visit our website Kalama dot law. Now back to the show.

Gabrielle Hartley (13m 29s):
So Ryan, you already know what I'm gonna say. I'm sure of it. Like basically you need to have your disclosures. Disclosure, disclosure, disclosure. Unless you and your spouse truly do not argue about money, you don't, you know, you're both W two employees. It's very simple. Even then you should have disclosure and then you can walk away from things. But you know, an educated consumer is always the best customer. I'm just curious, Ryan, how long is the lookback in Colorado, if you know?

Ryan Kalamaya (13m 56s):
Yeah, under rule 16.2 E, subsection 10. It is five years. I know it inside now. And what, there was a case in your marriage of Hunt that came out and essentially what happened was the parties, they were, I believe they were arguing over like an auto parts or like a car repair kind of shop. And they went to Mediation and they reached an agreement, And I, think it was just kind of a back of the napkin or just an estimate. And the husband didn't provide, my understanding is he didn't provide like profit and loss statements and balance sheets. And here in Colorado there's a list of required documents that need to be disclosed. And so it's the last three years of tax returns and balance sheets.

Ryan Kalamaya (14m 37s):
And so then the wife hired a lawyer, she then filed a motion with the judge that said, because they filed an M O U and she then said, this isn't fair. And started asking for more documentation and the trial judge enforced the M O U and then it went up to the Colorado court of appeals and the Carl Court of appeals said, no, you, he cannot enforce the M O U if you didn't provide mandatory disclosures. So, but obviously, I mean, and I'd love to hear this in the context of your Blitz Mediation in that some people they just want to be done and they may not want that profit and loss statement, they may not want everything. And does that, how do you balance that desire to be done versus the obvious countervailing interest of people should know what they're giving up in reaching, you know, an agreement?

Ryan Kalamaya (15m 27s):

Gabrielle Hartley (15m 27s):
This is a great question. I'm actually pretty surprised to hear about this Colorado law in New York and in Massachusetts that is definitely not the law. The judges say over and over, you understand that you cannot come back tomorrow and say you didn't agree. Do you understand sometimes the, the judge will send parties out to get lawyers if they didn't have lawyers in New York there. As of now, there is no requirement that you even go before the judge with your agreement. So you can go to a mediator reach. An agreement is not modifiable as it pertains to property distribution as it pertains to Mediation, I'm gonna say the same thing that I say to everybody, which is discovery is your friend. If you just want to be done in my role as your mediator, it is not appropriate for me to, or any mediator to tell you what you need to do, right?

Gabrielle Hartley (16m 16s):
Because I am the neutral third party impartial person. It's like I'm a, you could think of it as working as a facilitative judge almost, right? So like you're coming in if you haven't done your due diligence, that's sort of like your problem. However, as I am a lawyer's mediator and the last thing I want to do is have people come up with Agreements that aren't sticky, is I encourage people to do that discovery. And quite frankly, people with a larger profile, larger net worth are unlikely to do a Blitz because the Blitz are all time limited. And doing discovery takes a lot of time. Doesn't mean you if, if you have a lot of money and you know where they are and you're not waiting for appraisals and valuations, that's fine. But like the three blitzes are basically structured around a four or six and eight week, you know, rollout, which could be extended up to 12 weeks.

Gabrielle Hartley (17m 3s):
But sometimes things take months and that's fine, then you would just work hourly. Sometimes I'll have two lawyers who are just done with going to court on a case for whatever set of reasons, maybe there's a tax issue. Why they don't wanna go in front of a judge. Maybe they think they can really work it out. They just need a strong mediator there to help them get through. I, I'll do even a Blitz day where we, you know, you sort of buy my day, you buy my time a bit. you know, we could do mornings, afternoons, I work all different ways when lawyers are involved, there's a lot of flexibility that we schedule to make things happen faster. But for the general public there are three different Blitz models which are easy peasy, middle of the road and complicate, you know, it's complicated. I couldn't resist that one.

Gabrielle Hartley (17m 43s):
And then the other thing is, another thing that I do is I help lawyers who are really feeling down about their practice because the Divorce process can get really ugly and some people like me don't really like it. They don't like fighting all that much. The game gets exhausting after a while. I help people to, number one, I train them in the better part Method, which is based on the better part book and the, you know, the closed Method and how to close a case more quickly. And then I offer consulting to really change your practice. So it's a practice that you love, be it you wanna start a podcast, you wanna write your own book. You don't know the first thing about social media, everyone who hires me tells me what they want to work on.

Gabrielle Hartley (18m 25s):
And I help them. 'cause my whole goal, my vision was like, I wanna be the glorious Steinem of the positive Divorce movement, right? So Gloria couldn't do it on her own. And So I, look at all the lawyers, new lawyers, older lawyers, a lot of young lawyers who want to do things differently and you know, they work with me for a period of three or six months and we sort of get them on the right path. And then with most of these people I've maintained really great relationships. They reach out anytime. And that's sort of like a project. I love doing that work. It's really fun, it's really empowering and it lets me know that when I'm no longer doing this, there's gonna be more people doing this and more people can come from families like I came from, which were like the weird happy Divorce people.

Ryan Kalamaya (19m 6s):
So for those that don't know, can you tell us a little bit about the positive Divorce movement and how that might be different or the similar to collaborative Divorce? Yeah,

Gabrielle Hartley (19m 17s):
So collaborative Divorce is a particular model where you're signing an agreement saying no matter what, you're not going to court. I'm a trained collaborative lawyer. I do those cases from time to time. I prefer the attorney assisted Mediation model because that way you have collaboratively minded lawyers who you're working with. But if they have to go to court, they will. Now, when you work with me, you know I have ground rules. One of them is that you're not gonna threaten going to court, right? There's nothing that's going to hurt a case more than constantly threatening that like I can't stand the rubber stamp Mediation we mediate to resolve, we mediate to finish the positive Divorce movement is an umbrella really of all the different ways that you can reframe your Divorce.

Gabrielle Hartley (20m 1s):
Whether you're a lawyer and you wanna join the movement because you wanna help people, you know, extricate their financial entanglements and manage their kids and move on separately. Or you're someone who grew up with in a divorced family or you've been through a Divorce so that you don't feel full of shame and feel like less than, which happens a lot to people because it's a failure in a sense. If the only successful marriage is a marriage that lasts for 50 or 70 years. But you could reframe it and say, you know, this is an a learning experience. I, or maybe you created children who are wonderful beings or interesting beings, if not wonderful, you know, I've got teenage boys myself. It's not always wonderful, but it's always interesting and it's, it's all really about recalibrating shifting and, and looking at our lives differently.

Gabrielle Hartley (20m 49s):
Like when you think about it, Ryan, nearly 50% of all people experience Divorce. Whether you come from a Divorce, you get divorced, one of your siblings get divorced. And when we are from Divorce or are divorced, you know, you tend to feel bad about yourself or when you feel bad about yourself, you pass that on to your kids. And so you're really creating a legacy. And So I feel really inspired and passionate about breaking that negative legacy so that other people who, you know, the kids of today aren't told they're from a broken home or looked at as though something terrible like as a victim, right? Like I can remember growing up my friend's parents telling me how amazing I was and with my situation and what was my situation.

Gabrielle Hartley (21m 32s):
I had divorced parents who got along really well, you know,

Ryan Kalamaya (21m 35s):
And as if you chose that and as if there is something wrong with you that there's that stigma right to Divorce, right?

Gabrielle Hartley (21m 42s):
And that there was something wrong with them. Like, so that whole narrative of your parents are less than that, you know, they make different choices, people make choices. And in our society today we are able to start fresh, which is a wonderful thing. Now that said, in Better Apart in the book, I have a section between the introduction and chapter one, which is called Pause. Maybe you don't need a Divorce and marriage is hard and marriage is something that needs to be worked at. And you know, I'm not a proponent of Divorce, but I think that if it's necessary, if you can do it in a way that's positive, that makes you feel good, that supports your family, that is changing your narrative from someone who's a victim to someone who's living their best life, I just think that that's like a gift.

Ryan Kalamaya (22m 28s):
So for practitioners that are interested in the positive Divorce movement that you're leading, how do they reach out to you and and connect with you and what does that process look like? Is there a program that you have?

Gabrielle Hartley (22m 42s):
Yes, So I run the Total Practice Makeover. I do the, the whole thing four times a year. We just wrapped up in June. We'll start up again in September and that includes five group sessions plus a few one-to-one sessions at any time. If you go to Gabrielle Hartley dot com and click Divorce Professionals at any time at all, you could either sign up with me to do a small group, I will do a group of two or more and if a group of five or more, then I can work out, you know, a discount or whatever for people for practitioners. Or you could at any time just sign up for the One-to-one Total Practice Makeover work that we do together to help you reshape your practice, start eliminating the cases you don't want, you know, start visualizing just right clients, you can really change your practice.

Gabrielle Hartley (23m 28s):
I changed my practice and it really just took a switch of the thing of the way you think about, you know, who you wanna serve, how you wanna serve them, and there's certain practical steps that I will take you through. So if you just go to Gabrielle Hartley dot com, click for professionals that will lead you to the page. And if it's not clear, just send me an email and we can hop on a quick chat. And if you are looking to get divorced, if you're in the middle of a Divorce, whether you're thinking about it or you are already working with a lawyer and you want some consulting or you are, you know, on the eve of trial and wanna avoid trial, you can go to, you can just contact me or you can just click on the Blitz Mediation page and we can get started.

Gabrielle Hartley (24m 8s):
I do not for Mediation, I don't take any payment or work with people until I've had a strategy call because sometimes people think things are easier than they're going to be or more complicated than they're going to be. And so, you know, I give everybody a nice, you know, thorough sort of 10 minute conversation where we sort of get into what we're really talking about. And if your lawyer's looking to resolve cases, definitely reach out as well and we can see what I can offer to you. Yeah,

Ryan Kalamaya (24m 36s):
And before we got on courting you And I, were talking about your Blitz Mediation package and just the general frustration that you have kind of targeted with people being like, my Divorce is taking forever and whether or not that's appropriate, we were talking about, I have clients that'll come to me and be like, oh it's, it's no big deal. Like this should be super easy. And then they've got closely held businesses, private businesses and you've gotta value those. There's tax issues, there's water rights and the kind of over simplifier, right? Like why can't we just figure out a number? Why

Gabrielle Hartley (25m 12s):
Can't I just get custody? Why can't I just have the kids? Yeah.

Ryan Kalamaya (25m 14s):
Like what, what's the big deal? Like the, it's full custody, right? And so in those circumstances I is that where you're like, ah, this you, you might need to take a different path or is that your kind of sorting out process?

Gabrielle Hartley (25m 27s):
So exactly. So they might say, oh this is so simple and then they tell me their story And I say, well I think we should go hourly unless if you have lawyers and your discovery is complete or it is complete enough for you and you're gonna sign off on a letter that your lawyer's gonna make you sign off on, you know, saying that you were told that you were entitled to more stuff but you don't want the stuff, right? Any lawyer worth their salt is going to definitely insist that you sign something as your mediator. I'm going to help you come up with an M O U that you're gonna take back to your lawyer. So whether your lawyer allows you to continue with that or you say to the lawyer, well I don't care, I'm gonna go ahead with it. You can do whatever you want, it's your life and I'm here to support you to get through it.

Gabrielle Hartley (26m 10s):
But I will tell you as I write in better part as I talk about all the time, is that you are, you know, you're doing yourself a disservice if you don't take the time to just get through it. You're gonna be happier on the other side. Now if you're the money spouse and you feel like you've already given all the disclosure and what's taking so long in that case, I just would give you a gentle reminder that this is a marathon, it's not a sprint. And it's so aggravating that it takes so long And I really hear you And I feel you. And yet there is nothing that you can do to move things along. Now the person who doesn't want the Divorce or the person who wants revenge, I would say to them often, you know, as a lawyer I would say, you know that best offer is often the first offer given, right?

Gabrielle Hartley (26m 54s):
Because guilt goes away. So somebody makes you an offer in the beginning, but you're just not accepting that you're getting a Divorce, well they were giving you 60 40 and now they don't even wanna give you 50, 50 18 months later. So, I Dunno if that answered your question other than to say that the Blitz is good if you are really truly cognizant of everything or your case is pretty simple like it, most people don't have water rights and $30 million and assets and closely hold corporations. Some people do. And in that case you're either going to go hourly or you're going to have your lawyers as part of the process and then you would maybe do a Blitz three mornings on one week or something like that.

Gabrielle Hartley (27m 37s):
But that would be a privately arranged thing, not one of the programs.

Ryan Kalamaya (27m 42s):
And for you the Blitz is their two hour sessions. Why do you break it up if people are ready and they just want to get it done in doing it all day, that's at least the most common Method, at least here in Colorado. So tell me why do you break it up and what role, when you say lawyer assisted Mediation, what role do the lawyers play? Are they actually there at Mediation with you and the clients or do they go back to the attorneys before signing it? And can you explain to the, our listeners, how does that work from your perspective?

Gabrielle Hartley (28m 14s):
Absolutely. And it's so interesting. I know one of the things I've really loved about this whole better apart positive Divorce movement is I've had the opportunity to speak with so many amazing lawyers like you and lawyers in Texas and California and Illinois and how differently things are done on the East Coast. Most Mediation sessions, believe it or not, are only an hour and a half, two hours. I don't like to do it less than two hours. I don't feel that we can get enough done. I have a lot of energy. I am more than Happy to go a whole day. The prevailing thinking is that when you go too long, people just resolve things because of fatigue and they're not actually going to be sticky Agreements that are really well thought out. I would prefer to do two half days maybe on a Monday and a Thursday or on a Thursday and a Tuesday so people have time to marinate on what we're talking about.

Gabrielle Hartley (29m 3s):
And do two four hour sessions preferable to one eight hour session. I just think you're gonna have better long-term outcome, give people time to go back to their lawyers and sort things out. In terms of lawyer assisted Mediation, I do both things. Sometimes people bring their lawyers right into the room. When I say room, I do everything online. So it may be that the four of us are together, we do a lot of breakouts. I also, with the clients consent, you know like the meeting I have later today is the two lawyers who are in the lawyer assisted Mediation who just don't wanna go to court. I have a meeting without the parties. Right? So that's not strictly speaking Mediation. But sometimes when things are complicated you do need the lawyer to sort of give you a little bit of a reality check of what they're looking at if they were to go to court.

Gabrielle Hartley (29m 51s):
And having the opportunity to talk to the lawyers together with me present in the room is extraordinarily helpful in bringing the parties more close together because you're losing that insecurity that they don't really know, should I agree to this? Shouldn't I agree to this? The lawyers can really hear and as you would do in chambers with a judge sort of listening and hear, you know, the different perspectives on how you can address things. And it's funny, but most of the time in the, I don't know what you call the back zoom room, we come up with resolutions that everybody is happy with. It's really interesting. But it's been great. So thank you Mr. Zoom or Mrs. Zoom.

Ryan Kalamaya (30m 28s):
Yeah. And how has your practice changed or been over the last year with Covid? It's

Gabrielle Hartley (30m 33s):
Been, I I, I hate to say it's worst practices great 'cause it's it great that it's busy but super busy. There's been very little access to court obviously, and so people have been needing more and more Mediation. I have had a lot more attorney assisted Mediation, which is really what I love to do. The attorney assisted Mediation just allows for a more robust agreement, especially if they're Mediation friendly lawyers, you know, attorney assistant Mediation with people who are really wired to be litigators is not that great. It's sort of a waste of the client's money and my time, but it's been good. And I intend to remain on Zoom. I really like this platform.

Gabrielle Hartley (31m 13s):
In certain cases if people wanna meet in person, I will do that, but I feel like this is a great way to go. People can be comfortable in their own space, they can be with their lawyer, they could be, quite frankly, I've had people by their poolside, which is very relaxing for a lot of people. I haven't had anyone in a ski field yet.

Ryan Kalamaya (31m 29s):
Well, our, my office is at the base of Ski Mountain, so we'll have to figure out a time when we can do that. But I've really enjoyed the, the time Gabrielle for, you know, those that haven't been familiar with you again, where can they they find you at on online? Yeah,

Gabrielle Hartley (31m 47s):
Of course. And I forgot to mention something. Also Gabrielle Hartley dot com is a perfect place to find all the resources, both for professionals and for people getting divorced. I also do have a, a weekly blog called The Better Apart Blog, which has really the most top-notch Divorce professionals, wellness professionals talking about finances and dating after Divorce and co-parenting and all kinds of things like that. So you might wanna subscribe to the newsletter and just get that in your inbox each week and acquaint yourself with all of the really wonderful people who can support you in many ways as you navigate your Divorce process. So thank you so much, Ryan, it's been a real pleasure.

Ryan Kalamaya (32m 27s):
Yeah, no, thank you. And the, you know, you have the better part blog, but then the book and is the book available on Amazon and, and other places that online are in, in bookstores?

Gabrielle Hartley (32m 37s):
Yeah, absolutely. But the book was published by, by Harper Collins or Harper Wave technically. So it is available, it should be, you know, it should be at all your local booksellers, but it's definitely on Amazon and you can get it in hardcover soft cover, audible, Kindle. I just looked yesterday, it seems like there's seven different versions. I don't really, I only count four. But anyway, yes, you can get it online and, and you can get it on on my website, but that's just helping you to get it through Amazon,

Ryan Kalamaya (33m 2s):
Actually. Great. And whether you're going through a Divorce or thinking about a Divorce or you're a Divorce professional, definitely check out Gabriel's website in Better Part book. We'll have all of that linked in the show notes. And until next time, thank you for joining us on Divorce at Altitude and thanks again, Gabrielle. Appreciate it. Thank

Gabrielle Hartley (33m 19s):
You so much, Ryan. Great to meet you

Ryan Kalamaya (33m 21s):
Hey everyone, this is Ryan again. Thank you for joining us on Divorce at Altitude. If you found our tips, insight, or discussion helpful, please tell a friend about this podcast. For show notes, additional resources or links mentioned on today's episode, visit Divorce at Altitude dot com. Follow us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen in. Many of our episodes are also posted on YouTube. You can also find Amy and me Kalamaya.law or 970-315-2365. That's K A L A M A Y A.law