A Better Way to Divorce Through the Collaborative Model
By 2001, Suzanne Brunsting had been practicing as a matrimonial litigator for 20 years. The more experienced she got, the more difficult and contentious the cases referred to her. Day in, day out, she was witness to the damage endured by families embroiled in the process, especially the children at the center of custody battles. There had to be a better way. And that spring, a colleague introduced Sue to the collaborative model.
Now Sue is a collaborative lawyer and settlement advocate who helps divorcing clients reach agreements without resorting to the courts. Sue has 30-plus years of experience in the field of family law, and since 2004, she has limited her practice to collaborative law and settlement advocacy. She was the first president of the Collaborative Law Association of the Rochester Area, and she has been an active member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals since 2001. In addition, Sue teaches beginning collaborative law and advanced skills courses.
Today, Sue sits down with Katherine to explain how she was introduced to collaborative law after two decades as a matrimonial litigator. She shares the attorney’s role as a constructive advocate in the collaborative divorce model, discussing her intention to make clients ‘feel safe at the table.’ Sue walks us through the benefits of involving a neutral in the collaborative process, be it a child specialist, mediator mental health or financial professional. Listen in for insight around the spectrum of options available to divorcing couples and learn how the collaborative process ensures that the lawyers won’t give up until an agreement has been reached.
Sue’s 20-year background as a matrimonial litigator
Sue’s introduction to the collaborative law model
What inspired Sue to start a collaborative law group in Rochester
The vulnerability involved in the collaborative divorce model
The lawyer’s role as a constructive advocate in the collaborative process
- Understand client priorities, decision-making
- Act with integrity, professionalism and forthrightness
The benefit of having a neutral in the collaborative divorce process
Why Sue won’t do a case without a neutral
The spectrum of options available to couples considering divorce
What it means when a lawyer signs a participation agreement
Sue’s advice for people facing divorce
- Gather info before entering negotiation
- Take care of your health, emotional well-being
Connect with Suzanne Brunsting
Call (585) 244-4239
Connect with Katherine Miller
The New Yorker’s Guide to Collaborative Divorce by Katherine Miller
Call (914) 738-7765