Collaborative Lawyer, Ann Bauer, has been named an ICON by Missouri Lawyers Media

Missouri Lawyers Media will acknowledge the remarkable and noteworthy professional journeys of 25 lawyers and judges through the ICON Awards. This annual event celebrates individuals aged 60 and above in the Missouri legal community, honoring their exceptional careers and unwavering dedication to their profession. Nominees, whether currently practicing or retired, must have held a prominent role with significant decision-making power within their firm or organization. The 2024 awardees comprise of state and federal judges, founding partners, leaders of firms, and experienced practitioners from both large and small firms.

The St. Louis Collaborative Family Law Association is proud to congratulate Ann Bauer on her distinguished career and recognition.

Sara Marler sits down with KMOV's David Amelotti to discuss Divorce With Respect Week

Divorce With Dignity

Sara Marler sat down with KMOV's David Amelotti to discuss Collaborative Divorce.

DAVID:                 THIS WEEK IS DIVORCE WITH RESPECT WEEK AND A LOOK AT THE NUMBERS SHOW THE RATES OF DIVORCE IN AMERICA IS RISING. ACCORDING TO THE U.S. CENSUS DATA, IT WAS 7.1 OUT OF EVERY ONE-THOUSAND WOMEN, UP 3% FROM THE PREVIOUS YEAR. THE DIVORCE RATE IN MISSOURI WAS UP 2.5% AND ILLINOIS WITH THE DIVORCE RATE OF 5.7%. WHILE DIVORCE CAN BE CONTENTIOUS, WHILE DIVORCE CAN BE CONTENTIOUS, A WHILE DIVORCE CAN BE CONTENTIOUS, A GROUP IN ST. LOUIS IS LOOKING TO HELP PEOPLE DIVORCE DIVORCE WITH DIGNITY. WE HAVE SARAH MARLER WITH THE COLLABORATIVE LAW ASSOCIATION. THIS IS A TOPIC AFFECTING TOO MANY PEOPLE AND WITH DIVORCE WITH RESPECT WEEK, I WANT TO UNDERSTAND WHAT THAT IS AND HOW IS DIVORCE WITH DIGNITY POSSIBLE? 

SARA:                    THE ST. LOUIS COLLABORATIVE FAMILY LAW ASSOCIATION IS REALLY EXCITED TO RECOGNIZE DIVORCE WITH RESPECT WEEK AND RECOGNIZED BY THE STATE OF MISSOURI THIS YEAR AND THE ST. LOUIS COUNTY FAMILY COURTS AND ST. LOUIS CITY. IT'S AN IMPORTANT TIME TO RECOGNIZE THERE'S A WAY TO GO THROUGH THIS PROCESS OUT OF THE COURT SYSTEM. IT'S A WAY TO GET YOUR ATTENTION TO TRY TO HELP FOLKS TRANSITION FROM MARRIED IN THE SAME HOUSEHOLD TO UNTYING THE KNOT WHILE NOT BLOWING THROUGH YOUR WHILE NOT BLOWING THROUGH YOUR ENTIRE ESTATE AND BEING ABLE TO MAINTAIN YOUR FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS

DAVID:                 IT'S ACTUALLY ALLOWING BOTH PEOPLE TO THRIVE BEYOND THAT MARRIAGE PEOPLE TO THRIVE BEYOND THAT MARRIAGE ONCE PEOPLE TO THRIVE BEYOND THAT MARRIAGE ONCE IT ENDS. IF A COUPLE COMES TO YOU, MARRIAGE ONCE IT ENDS, WHAT DOES THIS PROCESS LOOK LIKE? BECAUSE IN UNDERSTAND THERE'S SEVERAL PROFESSIONALS A PART OF THIS TRYING TO HELP A COUPLE PART TRYING TO HELP A COUPLE REACH THEIR END GOAL HERE. 

SARA:                    CORRECT, SO IF YOU GO THROUGH A TRADITIONAL DIVORCE, IT'S SORT OF A ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL APPROACH. THAT’S NOT HOW THIS IS HANDLED AT ALL.  WE HAVE CHILD SPECIALISTS THAT CAN BE INVOLVED. WE HAVE COMMUNICATION COACHES THAT CAN BE INVOLVED AND FINANCIAL EXPERTS THAT CAN BE INVOLVED AND, OF COURSE, EACH PERSON HAS THEIR OWN ATTORNEY. BUT WE TAILOR THAT,   THOSE EXPERTS ARE NOT OBVIOUSLY INVOLVED IN EVERY SINGLE CASE, IT DEPENDS ON THE CASE AND WHO NEEDS WHAT. BUT THE OTHER KEY PIECE TO THIS ELEMENT OF THIS PROCESS IS YOU, THE COUPLE, GET TO TAILOR HOW YOUR CASE LOOKS.  THE COURT IS NOT CONTROLLING THE TIMELINE. THE COURT IS NOT CONTROLLING THE OUTCOME THE COURT IS NOT DICTATING WHAT REST OF YOUR LIFE LOOKS LIKE AS FAR AS CHILD SUPPORT OR WHEN YOU SEE YOUR CHILDREN. YOU AND YOUR SPOUSE ARE DOING THAT. 

DAVID:                 AND WHAT DOES THE SUCCESS RATE LOOK WITH THIS? 

SARA:                    THE SUCCESS RATE IS HUGE, 90% POSITIVE RESULTS ARE COMING FROM GOING THROUGH THE COLLABORATIVE PROCESS

DAVID:                 WONDERFUL, AND BEFORE WE LET YOU GO, FOR PEOPLE TO LEARN MORE INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR GROUP SPECIFICALLY, WHERE IS THE BEST PLACE TO GO? 

SARA:                    STLOUISCOLLABORATIVELAW.COM.

DAVID:                 WONDERFUL! WELL SARAH, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR TIME, WE GREATLY APPRECIATE IT. IF YOU MISSED ANY PART OF THAT CONVERSATION, DON’T WORRY WE’LL HAVE THAT UP FOR YOU AT FIRSTALERT4.COM AND OF COURSE THE  FIRST ALERT 4 NEW APP. 

City of Clayton Declares March 4th through 8th, 2024, to be Divorce With Respect Week

The City of Clayton, Missouri has issued a proclamation declaring March 4-8, 2024, to be Divorce With Respect Week™ in St. Louis. For the duration of the week, members of the St. Louis Collaborative Family Law Association are offering free 30-minute divorce consultations for anyone seeking to learn more about the divorce process and divorce process options that are available to them.  

Divorce With Respect Week™ is a growing national movement led by divorce professionals to raise awareness of Collaborative Divorce as a better option for divorce than going to court. Nearly 500 divorce professionals nationwide are participating in Divorce With Respect Week™ in 2024.

“When people think of divorce, they think of a tumultuous process that often wastes time and leaves people traumatized, but it doesn’t have to be that way.” said Jennifer Piper, an attorney and member of the St. Louis Collaborative Family Law Association.“Collaborative Divorce does the unconventional in that clients actually lead the discussion on the divorce outcome, not a judge.” 

When clients choose a Collaborative Divorce, they don’t just receive the help of their individual attorneys – they also receive guidance from a divorce financial expert, a mental health professional, and a child specialist for any children involved in the case. With a team of professionals on their side, clients can resolve any issues without going to court and causing lasting emotional damage to them and their families. 

St. Louis Collaborative Family Law Association is a not-for-profit organization of independent mental health professionals, attorneys, and financial professionals dedicated to assisting St. Louis and Missouri in resolving family disputes through Collaborative Divorce. Members recently featured on The Respectful Divorce Podcast, where they discussed exactly how a Collaborative Divorce has benefited St. Louis

To schedule a free divorce consultation with a St. Louis divorce professional during Divorce With Respect Week™, visit www.divorcewithrespectweek.com.

City of St. Louis Declares March 4th through 8th, 2024, to be Divorce With Respect Week

he City of St. Louis, Missouri has issued a proclamation declaring March 4-8, 2024, to be Divorce With Respect Week™in St. Louis. For the duration of the week, members of the St. Louis Collaborative Family Law Association are offering free 30-minute divorce consultations for anyone seeking to learn more about the divorce process and divorce process options that are available to them.  

“Choosing an out-of-court divorce process is widely understood to be a better process for the children of the divorcing couple because it allows the divorcing parties to co-parent and to end the marriage without destroying the family's relationships and financial estate,” the proclamation stated. 

Divorce With Respect Week™ is a growing national movement led by divorce professionals to raise awareness of Collaborative Divorce as a better option for divorce than going to court. Nearly 500 divorce professionals nationwide are participating in Divorce With Respect Week™ in 2024.

“The city recognizing Divorce With Respect Week™ is incredibly helpful in our mission to revolutionize the way people divorce,” said Cynthia Garnholz, attorney and member of St. Louis Collaborative Family Law Association.

St. Louis has a divorce rate of 12.5%, which is higher than the national average – but separating doesn’t have to cause severe irreparable damages to the family dynamic. When clients choose a Collaborative Divorce, they don’t just receive the help of their individual attorneys – they also receive guidance from a divorce financial expert, a mental health professional, and a child specialist for any children involved in the case. With a team of professionals on their side, clients can resolve any issues without going to court and causing lasting emotional damage to them and their families. 

St. Louis Collaborative Family Law Association is a not-for-profit organization of independent mental health professionals, attorneys, and financial professionals dedicated to assisting St. Louis and Missouri in resolving family disputes through Collaborative Divorce. 

To schedule a free divorce consultation with a St. Louis divorce professional during Divorce With Respect Week™, visit www.divorcewithrespectweek.com.

St. Louis County Declares March 4th through 8th, 2024, to be Divorce With Respect Week

St. Louis County, Missouri has issued a proclamation declaring March 4-8, 2024 to be Divorce With Respect Week in St. Louis County. During Divorce With Respect Week, members of the St. Louis Collaborative Family Law Association are offering free 30-minute divorce consultations for anyone seeking to learn more about the divorce process and divorce process options that are available to them.  

“Choosing an out-of-court divorce process is widely understood to be a better process for the children of the divorcing couple because it allows the divorcing parties to co-parent and to end the marriage without destroying the family's relationships and financial estate,” the proclamation stated. 

Divorce With Respect Week is a growing national movement led by divorce professionals to raise awareness of Collaborative Divorce as an alternative to litigation. Over 500 divorce professionals nationwide have joined in Divorce With Respect Week this year.  

St. Louis has a divorce rate of 12.5%, which is higher than the national average – but separating doesn’t have to cause severe irreparable damages to the family dynamic. When clients choose a Collaborative Divorce, they don’t just receive the help of their individual attorneys – they also work with a divorce financial expert, a mental health professional, and a child specialist for any children involved in the case. With a team of professionals on their side, clients can resolve any uncertainties without going to court and causing lasting emotional damage to them and their families. 

St. Louis residents seeking Collaborative professionals can contact the St. Louis Collaborative Family Law Association, a a not-for-profit organization of independent mental health professionals, attorneys, and financial professionals dedicated to resolving family disputes through Collaborative Divorce. 

“The county’s recognition of Divorce With Respect Week is so important because it lets families know there’s another way to go about divorcing without causing lasting emotional, financial and legal problems,” said Susan Amato, attorney and member of St. Louis Collaborative Family Law Association.

To schedule a free divorce consultation with a St. Louis divorce professional during Divorce With Respect Week, visit www.divorcewithrespectweek.com.

The State of Missouri has Declared March 4th-8th, 2024, to be Divorce With Respect Week

The Missouri House of Representatives has issued a proclamation declaring March 4-8, 2024, to be Divorce With Respect Week in the state of Missouri. During Divorce With Respect Week, members of the St. Louis Collaborative Family Law Association and Collaborative Practice Kansas City are offering free 30-minute divorce consultations for anyone seeking to learn more about the divorce process and divorce process options that are available to them.

“The Collaborative Divorce process is designed to allow the couple to divorce in a more respectful and dignified manner as they receive guidance from lawyers, child specialists, mental health professionals and financial coaches to craft their own agreements.” the proclamation stated.

Divorce With Respect Week is a growing national movement led by divorce professionals to raise awareness of Collaborative Divorce as a better option for divorce than going to court. Over 500 divorce professionals nationwide are participating Divorce With Respect Week in 2024.

“The state’s recognition of Divorce With Respect Week is so important because it lets families know there’s another way to go about divorcing without causing lasting emotional, financial and legal problems,” said Susan Amato, attorney and member of St. Louis Collaborative Family Law Association.



With a divorce rate of 12.2%, Missouri has one of the highest divorce rates in the country – but separating doesn’t have to cause severe irreparable damages to the family dynamic. When clients choose a Collaborative Divorce, they don’t just receive the help of their individual attorneys – they also receive guidance from a divorce financial expert, a mental health professional, and a child specialist for any children involved in the case. With a team of professionals on their side, clients can resolve any issues without going to court and causing lasting emotional damage to them and their families.

During Divorce With Respect Week, Missouri residents can turn to St. Louis Collaborative Family Law Association and Collaborative Practice Kansas City for a divorce consultation. Both are a collective of divorce professionals dedicated to assisting St. Louis and Missouri in resolving family disputes through Collaborative Divorce.

To schedule a free divorce consultation with a St. Louis or Kansas City divorce professional during Divorce With Respect Week, visit www.divorcewithrespectweek.com.

Collaborative Family Law Association of St. Louis Joins Divorce With Respect Week™ Initiative

The Collaborative Family Law Association of St. Louis has joined Divorce With Respect Week™ 2024, running from March 4-8. During that week, members of CFLA will join divorce professionals nationwide in offering 30-minute free divorce consultations for up to three people seeking to better understand options for how they might divorce.

The Collaborative Family Law Association of St. Louis will offer these consultations for residents of the greater St. Louis area. To book a free consultation, visit www.divorcewithrespectweek.com. Those living outside of the St. Louis area can also use the website to find their nearest participating Collaborative Divorce professional.

Divorce With Respect Week is a national effort aiming to promote Collaborative Divorce as an alternative to divorce litigation. Collaborative Divorce allows couples to separate without having to deal with the messy and adversarial process of going to court. Should clients opt to divorce collaboratively, they would be offered a neutral financial professional and a child specialist for any children involved in the divorce. The addition of a divorce coach to facilitate effective communication allows clients to amicably resolve their issues in a private setting. The process is especially beneficial for families with children who want to focus on an ongoing, amicable relationship, and it typically yields more satisfying results than divorce litigation.

To learn more about Collaborative Divorce, visit www.divorcewithrespectweek.com.

Breaking Apart While Pulling in the Same Direction

When most people think of divorce, what come to mind are words like “divisive,” “conflict,” “adversarial,” “battle,” and other terms describing anger, unhappiness, and disappointment. So how can a divorce be “collaborative,” and why is that a good thing?

A couple going through divorce started their marriage walking down the aisle together, planning a life together, and raising children together. Even when problems arose, the couple may, together, have sought the assistance of a marriage counselor or spiritual advisor.

Yet, if the couple decides the marriage has no future and they need to separate, the usual path is to hire attorneys and take what was a joint venture onto the battlefield where they will begin lobbing grenades at each other trying to achieve an all-out victory or, at best, a truce.

What’s wrong with this picture?

For starters, if the divorce war rages on, the children are inevitably caught in the crossfire, making everyone in the family miserable. Parents have an obligation to work together for the kids’ benefit in a partnership that doesn’t end when the children graduate college but, rather, that lasts a lifetime. Beyond that, each spouse’s life will be weighed down by continued sniping, which can lead to bitterness and endless resentment.

The Collaborative Divorce Process offers a radically different approach to divorce. It lets a divorcing couple focus on their future rather than on the sins of the past. It invites a couple to work together towards common goals, such as financial independence, a sound co-parenting relationship, and mutual respect in their post-divorce lives. It recognizes that divorce litigation rarely produces a clear winner and a clear loser but, rather, ends in a Pyrrhic victory, draining financial and emotional resources that take years to replenish.

In a collaborative divorce, spouses are supported by their own lawyers as well as by unaligned mental health and financial professionals, each of whom brings a different set of skills to the table. The lawyers, rather than focusing on strategic maneuvering, collaborating to help their clients work together to benefit the entire family.

Couples who choose the collaborative divorce process recognize that preserving their family’s well-being will require being attentive to the needs of all members of the family, including their soon-to-be ex-spouse. That doesn’t mean giving in; it does mean being willing to listen, and, in turn, being heard.

Judges have limited tools and limited time as they deal with an endless flow of divorce matters. Couples using the collaborative divorce process avoid the standardized approach of the courthouse. By rejecting a war and, instead, embracing a cooperative approach, they are much more likely to emerge well-prepared for their post-divorce lives.

Divorce represents both an end and a beginning. The collaborative divorce process invites couples to keep their eyes on the road ahead to create a better future for themselves and for their children.

The Drama-Free Divorce

There’s something to be said for the “drama-free” divorce.  Well, maybe not drama-free, since getting a divorce tends to be a very emotional chapter in the lives of most couples.   But in my opinion, a divorce with minimal drama ought to be a goal.

The Cost of Drama in Divorce

It’s not that I don’t like drama.    Drama has its place.  A lot of my favorite TV shows, films and books are drama-filled and can be quite engaging.  I just don’t see a benefit to bringing all that drama to the table in a divorce.  Drama-filled divorces are the stuff dreams are made of.  Unfortunately for you, these are not your dreams; they are the dreams of litigation attorneys who are more than willing to turn your contention into billable hours.  While you’re burning through your children’s college funds to pay for your bitter divorce, the litigation attorneys are now able to afford to send their kids to college without taking out student loans.  So, unless you’re expecting your divorce story to get picked up by a Hollywood producer as the remake of War of the Roses, and you’re getting big bucks for the movie rights, it may be in your best interest to keep the drama to a minimum.

Emotions and Divorce

I understand that when things go South in our lives, marriage-inclusive, our tendency is to look around for someone to blame.  It’s the American way.  The first response of most human beings facing the break-up of a relationship is anger- at our partner, at the way things have turned out, maybe even anger at ourselves for making a bad choice of a mate.  When you walk into a divorce attorney’s office loaded for bear and wanting to get even for the pain and disappointment your spouse has caused you, some attorneys will take you at your word and get your case filed in court before the ink is dry on your contract.  A client motivated by anger may be oblivious to the high cost of litigating a divorce.  At the onset, you may think it’s worth it, just to punish your spouse for hurting you.  But most people come to their senses relatively soon, and many realize that they are now stuck in a process that moves rather slowly and inefficiently but costs a lot of money.  For the most part, clients in litigation feel like they have very little control over what happens in that process.  There are a lot of hoops to jump through, and clients seldom understand why all those things are necessary.   The court system takes a rather “one size fits all” approach to cases, by necessity, based on the sheer volume of cases that are filed, so once you are in that system, you are forced to move along with the herd.

Good News: You Have Divorce Process Options

The good news is, there are other processes, like mediation or collaborative divorce, that can offer you a more personalized approach to getting a divorce.  Even though you are dealing with the same issues, in the same situation, these processes are designed to help you let go of your anger and to take a more reasonable, problem-solving approach to untangling the finances and the child-related issues and to craft a future for you and your spouse that allows both of you to survive, and even thrive in your future as co-parents.

If you are facing a divorce or legal separation, you owe it to yourself to explore divorce process options, such as mediation, collaborative divorce, or kitchen table negotiation, to find the process that best suits your needs.

About the author:

Marjorie Carter is a collaboratively-trained family law attorney, mediator and former member of CFLA.  Marjorie is committed to guiding her clients through the legal process by taking a reasonable, peacemaking approach, helping them to find creative solutions that respect their own values and integrity.

Understanding Grief in Divorce

When two people get married they emotionally attach to dreams, hopes, fantasies and plans of what their life will be like.  For some, getting and being married is a central part of their religion or spirituality.  Getting divorced forces people to let go of deeply held hopes and dreams and re-negotiate their world view.  The name for this process is grief.

The Grieving Process in Divorce

Grief is an inevitable and essential part of any divorce.  We don’t learn how to grieve, we do it automatically, whether we know it or not.    Many people associate grief narrowly with death, and while it is true that we grieve for those who have died, we also grieve many other losses throughout our life as well.

Getting a divorce involves a legal, financial and emotional separation.  Each of these separations comes with it’s own unique type of grief.  Some people fight the experience of grief, they get hung up on being right or get lost in the minutia of one particular issue.  Despite our best efforts, the deep and painful feeling states associated with grief must be felt in order for us to transition to the next chapter of our lives.  

Regardless of the degree of certainty you have about needing to get divorced, you will still have to grieve.  You may normally solve problems by “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” or finding ways to be grateful and yet, if you are getting a divorce, you will have to grieve.

There are several different states of grief.  Many people start grieving by being in a state of denial, which serves as a protective shield against the initial impact of the shattered dream.  Fear, anxiety, guilt, sadness and anger are other emotional states that are part of the grieving process, each allowing you to complete a different task so that you can acknowledge and accept the loss and successfully move forward.

Engage a Professional

It is common for people to reach out to a trained mental health provider during times of loss and transition.  Sharing your story with a therapist can be a powerful way to make sense of and eventually be free from grief and pain. 

The emotions in divorce can be difficult to navigate. Certain divorce processes are better suited to help with these emotions in divorce. Collaborative divorce is a supportive divorce process that traditionally includes a mental health professional, financial specialist, and two family law attorneys.

Dena Tranen, LCSW is a trained collaborative law professional, licensed clinical social worker and former member of CFLA. She works as a mental health coach, therapist, and co-parenting specialist. To learn more about your Missouri divorce process options give her a call today.