Marguerite Picard Blog

Hi and welcome to my blog.

This blog is a free resource for you with the aim to educate and express opinions about collaborative family law, divorce, separation and child custody. All articles are informative and are up to date with current practices. Please enjoy reading and take care of yourself. - Marguerite.

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Creating Agreements or Resolving Disputes?

Collaborative Divorce Practice and Mediation share the goal of helping people to identify common ground and to reach agreements. Families transitioning through separation often work with professionals in these processes, which we refer to as types of alternate dispute resolution.  Would it be more helpful for professionals to describe themselves as facilitating agreements, and not emphasising the idea of dispute in the description of their role?
“Dispute” is a negative word. Separation is not an easy process, and it is characterised by negativity. Let’s remove “dispute”and replace it with “agreement”. If the service that is being offered by professionals is framed positively, that might allow separating people to see reaching agreements after separation as a positive process, even if it is happening in a challenging climate.

by Marguerite Picard, Family Divorce Lawyer, Melbourne VIC

“Listening is not waiting to speak”

Does this look and sound familiar? Actively listening to others is more than not interrupting; the first rule of listening is to be fully emotionally present, and we can’t be present if we are focused on our response. Until we have really listened, how can we know our (appropriate) response? Our response needs to be adjusted to what the other… Read more

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“She’s got you beat you can tell by the company she keeps” (with apologies to Chris Cornell)

Our Prime Minister Julia Gillard has struggled in the opinion polls since she took office in June 2010. That is until 48 hours ago, when her knight in shining armour arrived. We are not talking about her partner Tim Mathieson here, but Barack Obama. Since his arrival in Australia her ratings have begun to improve. Our response to this visit has been fascinating.… Read more

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San Francisco and good divorce

Melbourne collaborative divorce practitioners were well represented at the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals conference in San Francisco at the end of October. Our Melbourne Collaborative Alliance hosted a party at the very cool Minna Gallery, where we had the chance to catch up with the Aussies and our international friends from Europe, UK, Canada and the USA. This conference… Read more

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Can you Ever Win an Argument in Your Separation and Divorce?

What happens to the idea of fighting with your spouse partner during and after your separation or your divorce, if you accept that argument doesn’t work? One idea about arguing with other people is that it gives them the opportunity to dig further into their deepest beliefs, which actually strengthens their own view. Separation is hugely stressful; it is not… Read more

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Your family is not a divorce statistic. Don’t become one.

Here are some ways to build health after separation and divorce and to avoid becoming a statistic about the ill effects of separation: Take care of yourself. Sleep, exercise, diet, friendship and relaxation are all important aspects of your life to take care of so that you reduce the stress of separation. Don’t try to understand everything that went wrong… Read more

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