The CLI MN East Metro Group invites you to join their Happy Hour on Thursday June 13 from 4 – 6:30 pm

Emily and Daniel were in love. Their love story had once been the envy of the neighborhood—a whirlwind romance that blossomed into a marriage filled with laughter, shared dreams, and whispered secrets. But as the years went by, cracks appeared in their fairy tale. After years of therapy, divorce was agreed upon as the next step.

At a local coffee shop, Emily consulted with Susan, an attorney who specialized in collaborative divorce, a path less traveled but one that promised healing rather than heartache.

“Emily,” Susan began, “I know this is tough. But have you considered a collaborative divorce?”

Emily sipped her latte, her eyes tracing the steam rising from the cup. “What’s that?”

Susan leaned in, her voice soft. “It’s a different approach. Instead of battling it out in court, we assemble a team—a dream team, if you will.”

Emily raised an eyebrow. “A dream team?”

“Yes,” Susan said. “Picture this: You, Daniel, and your respective attorneys. But that’s not all. We also bring in a neutral facilitator—a wise soul who guides conversations and ensures emotions don’t derail the process. And a financial expert—they’re like wizards with spreadsheets, helping us untangle the financial knots.”

Emily’s curiosity piqued. “And what’s the goal?”

“To find common ground,” Susan replied. “We sit around a table, not a courtroom. We talk, we listen, and we create solutions together. No winners or losers—just a fair resolution.”

Meanwhile, across town, Daniel met with his attorney, Ethan, who had an established divorce litigation practice. The fluorescent lights buzzed overhead, casting shadows on the carpet.

“Daniel,” Ethan said, adjusting his tie, “we’re going to court. It’s the way things are done.  We serve her, file the papers and start the process of hearings.”

“But what about Emily?” Daniel asked. “We used to love each other. Can’t we find a better way?”

Ethan sighed. “This is how it works with divorce.  We’ll request documents, hold depositions as needed, and present evidence. It’s a battle my friend.”

Daniel remembered the nights he’d held Emily as she cried. He wanted closure, not combat. Maybe Susan’s dream team was worth exploring.

Back at the coffee shop, Susan continued her pitch. “Emily, collaborative divorce is cost-effective. No endless court appearances, no billable hours stacking up. Plus, it’s faster.”

“But what if Daniel refuses?” Emily asked.

Susan smiled. “We’ll encourage him. And if he agrees, we’ll craft a customized settlement—one that considers your needs and the kids’ well-being.”

Back in Ethan’s office, Ethan faced Daniel. “We’ll fight for your rights, Daniel.”

Daniel glanced at Ethan’s stern face. He thought of Emily, their shared memories, and the pain they both carried. Maybe there was another way.

Emily and Daniel stood at the crossroads, their hearts heavy with choices.

The Collaborative Path:

  • A team of allies.
  • Solutions born from dialogue.
  • Healing over hurting.

The Traditional Path:

  • Adversaries in court.
  • Evidence and arguments.
  • Winners and losers.

As the sun dipped below the horizon, Emily and Daniel made their decision. They chose the dream team—the path of collaboration. And in that choice, they found not just a divorce, but a chance to rewrite their story.

When life hands you a divorce, consider the roads less traveled. Sometimes, the dream team can turn heartbreak into hope.

Disclaimer: The characters and events in this story are fictional. Any resemblance to real persons or situations is purely coincidental.

Note: This story is a creative representation of collaborative and traditional divorce. Seek legal advice from a professional attorney for personalized guidance.

This story was created in part with the use of artificial intelligence and in part by attorney Angela Heart.

Angela Heart | Attorney
Angela is a collaborative family law attorney at Heart Law, LLC. Her mission is to enable and empower divorcing couples to have a smooth transition that is family focused during a life changing event. To find more information about Heart Law go to

Heart Law, LLC
651-337-1333 |



In recent years, how we handle many of life’s pivotal moments, including the sensitive divorce process, has shifted dramatically. The introduction of tools like Zoom into the collaborative divorce process has transformed how meetings are conducted and brought many benefits to clients. Let’s explore how this technological shift has significantly impacted clients through the lens of hypothetical client experiences.

The Time-Saver
Meet Sarah and John, who decided to part ways after a decade of marriage. With demanding careers and a busy family life, finding time for numerous meetings took a lot of work. The adoption of Zoom for their collaborative divorce process was a game-changer. They could attend sessions from the comfort of their home, saving valuable time otherwise spent traveling to and from meetings. This convenience allowed them to approach each session with a clearer mind, focusing on the matters at hand rather than the stress of commuting.

The Comfort of Distance
Then there’s the story of Emma and Alex. Sitting next to each other in a professional office would heighten their emotional stress, making productive communication challenging. Zoom provided a much-needed physical buffer. By attending sessions from separate locations, they found themselves more relaxed and able to communicate effectively. This emotional comfort translated into a more focused approach to resolving their issues.

Access to Specialized Professionals
Consider the case of Mia and Carlos. They had specific needs: Mia wanted a financial expert, while Carlos sought guidance on parenting plans. Previously, they were restricted to professionals in their immediate area. Zoom opened up a state-wide pool of experts. They were able to engage with a financial advisor from the suburbs and a parenting expert from St. Paul, each bringing specialized knowledge to the table.

The Long-Distance Couple
Finally, there’s Rachel and Tom, who were already living in different cities when they decided to divorce. For them, arranging in-person meetings was nearly impossible. Zoom made it feasible for them to engage in the collaborative process without the need for travel. This was particularly beneficial for Tom, who also frequently traveled for work and could join the sessions from anywhere, ensuring continuity in their proceedings.

The Bigger Picture
These stories highlight the flexibility and accessibility that Zoom has brought to the collaborative divorce process. Clients are no longer bound by geographical limitations or the constraints of traditional office hours. The comfort of attending from a familiar environment reduces stress, allowing for more productive discussions. The physical separation provided by virtual meetings can lower emotional intensity, fostering a more amicable environment for negotiation.

Moreover, this shift isn’t just beneficial for the clients. Professionals, too, have found that they can offer their services more broadly, reaching clients they wouldn’t have otherwise. It’s a win-win situation where expertise is now unrestricted by location.

Integrating Zoom meetings into the collaborative divorce process is more than a response to a world increasingly reliant on digital solutions. It’s a thoughtful adaptation to the needs of those going through one of life’s most challenging transitions, offering a sense of control, comfort, and accessibility that was previously hard to achieve with in-person meetings. As technologies continue to improve, it’s exciting to see how our ways of meeting with clients will continue to evolve.

Carl Arnold is an experienced family law attorney and mediator. He currently focuses his practice on Family Law Mediation and Collaborative Divorce. His office is in Northfield, Minnesota and he works with people from all over the state using Zoom. Carl has been a long-time member of the Collaborative Law Institute of Minnesota.

Arnold Law and Mediation LLC

Title: CLI Summer Social – Mississippi River Boat Cruise
Date: Wednesday, July 17, 2024
Time: 5:30 PM – 9:00 PM
The Boat: Magnolia Blossom Cruises
2500 Crosby Farm Road, St Paul, MN 55116
Parking: Public Parking is available at the site. When you pull into the marina, you and your guests will park in the parking lot and walk through the gate, the boat is located slightly to the right. The Magnolia Blossom is the only commercial boat in the marina.
Boarding: Starts at 5:30pm. The boat will depart promptly at 6pm.
Registration Fee: $45
CLI Emeritus & Student Members: $25
Sponsors per benefit package
Menu: Firecracker chicken skewers, BBQ meatballs, jumbo shrimp with cocktail sauce, fresh vegetables, chicken salad, artisan cheeses wit crackers, bruschetta. Cash Bar.
Who Should Attend: CLI members, family, and guests.
Social Committee Chairs:
Brian Burns |
Brett Leschinsky|

For questions on registration contact: Sandy Beeson:

CLI MN Member Social Sponsors
Brittany Pearson | Pearson Family Law PLLC
Katrina Viegas | Beaumier Trogdon Orman Hurd & Viegas PLLP
Amy Wolff | AJW Financial, Inc.

Thank you to our Annual Partner Sponsors for their continuing support of CLI!

Click here for details and to Register

Dates: (Three full-days total)
*Thursday, May 16, 2024
       *Happy Hour end of day Thursday scheduled for attendees at location TBD
Friday May 17, 2024
Thursday, May 23, 2024
Time: 8:30-4:30 (Detailed timing and agenda TBD)
Location: 3300 Edinborough Way, Edina, MN 55435, 1st Floor Training Room

Attendance Fees:
Not a member of CLI MN:

Non-CLI MN members: $595
Student – Not a member of CLI: $150
(Not a member? The NCE registration form will ask you if you would like to join CLI MN, prior to registering for the NCE training. Join CLI MN and attend at the Student member rate!)

Members of CLI MN:
CLI MN members who have NOT taken this training before:
CLI MN members who have taken this training but would like a refresher: $150 (Please email for your registration code for this pricing.)
CLI MN Student members: $0.00
CLI MN Emeritus and Annual Partners: $0.00

*Nonmembers will have the opportunity to join CLI prior to registering for the NCE Training.
**Discount Code: If you have a discount code to attend the training, you will enter it prior to checking out.

Continuing Education Credits: Pending approval of 18 Standard credits for: CLE, Board of Psychology, and LMFT. A certificate of attendance for self-filling of other credentials will also be provided.

Cancellation: Refunds for registration will be processed if notice of cancellation is received by Friday May 1, 2024

Day I: Training on collaborative practice principles and fundamentals, the roles of the professionals on the interdisciplinary team, the paradigm shift, protocols of practice, the road map to resolution, and ethics.
Day II:
 A demonstration of the collaborative model, one involving a neutral coach/facilitator through performances of 13 vignettes depicting a full-team collaborative case from start to almost finish. The vignettes will give detailed insight into the roles of the neutral coach/facilitator, both attorneys, the neutral child specialist, and the neutral financial professional. The different clients in the vignettes present the team with challenging legal, relational, financial, and parenting issues. The performance will be instructive, practical, and hopefully, inspirational. Day 2 is informative for the experienced collaborative practitioner as well as the new collaborative practitioner.
Day III: Focuses on completing a case, advocacy, and ethics in the Collaborative process, what happens when you hit bumps in the road, talking to clients about this process, connecting with your profession and resources to build your practice.

Educational Level: Advanced

Tune-Up Training: Date in September TBD, 9:00 AM – Noon will be based on a survey of attendees to learn where they feel additional instruction would be most helpful. (This follow-up session may or may not be additional CE credits.)

Training Committee Chairs:
Louise Livesay-Al |
Rebecca Randen |

For questions on registration contact: Sandy Beeson:


Each year the incoming CLI board gathers the morning of the retreat to set goals and discuss action items for the coming year. Members are invited to then join the Board for for an afternoon session of discussion. The incoming President sets the agenda and direction of the full day retreat. Date: Friday, January 12, 2024 Location: Due to Snow warnings, the Board has switched the Retreat from in-person to VIRTUAL ONLY! ZOOM LOGIN: Meeting ID: 898 2406 4633 Time: Board Members login at 8:50 AM for 9AM meeting start. Members login at 1PM for Board and Members afternoon session. Fee: No fee to attend. Just login. Who should attend: Members and annual sponsors of CLI. For questions on registration contact: Sandy Beeson: or Judy Johnson |

Topic Title: Financial Fluency for Family Lawyers: Retirement Projections, Tax Planning and More
Date: Thursday, June 6, 2024
11:30 AM Attendees login
11:40 AM Welcome and introductions
11:45 AM Presentation begins
1:00 PM Presentation end
Location: Zoom.
Link will be provided in the confirmation email once you  are registered.
Description: This fast-moving session will help you gain insights into the current market landscape, including election year influences, and provide strategies for handling market volatility. We’ll explore behavioral finance and its impact on decision-making during divorce. Elevate your comprehension of long-term retirement projections, including social security and considerations for longevity. And we’ll cover top hits on maximizing assets through effective tax planning.
Amy J. Wolff, CFP®, CDFA®
Chad Olson, CFP®, CDFA®
AJW Financial |
CE Credits: 1.25 CLE credits APPROVED
CLI Members: $25.00
Non CLI Members: $45.00
CLI Student & Emeritus members, and CLI Sponsors No charge

Who Should Attend: CLI Members, Family Law Professionals
Educational Level: Overview
Training Committee Chairs:
Louise Livesay-Al |
Rebecca Randen |
For questions on registration contact: 
Sandy Beeson:

I have a prediction: In the next twenty years, Collaborative Divorce will become the standard for divorce process in Minnesota.

In my nine years as a family law attorney, the majority of my cases have been “traditional” in nature.  Traditional in this sense means that the process of divorce starts with a petitioner spouse who serves a summons and petition upon the respondent spouse.  The divorce is either settled along the way or it is litigated all the way to trial.  Sprinkled in for the past five years have been Collaborative Divorce cases, in which both spouses choose to work with a Collaboratively trained team (comprised of two attorneys and sometimes a neutral child or financial specialist) and to resolve their divorce in an out-of-court setting. Both processes end with a divorce, but one often results in collateral damage resulting from unchecked animosity and litigation, often referred to as the “scorched earth” approach.

Most family law attorneys with whom I have spoken really dislike these scorched earth cases. Some attorneys are complicit in these cases for myriad reasons.  These difficult cases, which take place with heavy court involvement, place a tremendous burden on families, on attorneys, and on the courts.  Every case that is filed (and that is not In Forma Pauperis) requires the same filing fee to pay for case oversight. Some cases require only that a judge reviews and signs the final divorce decree, while others languish in courts for years, as court staff oversees countless motions, counter-motions, requests for phone calls, letter submissions, etc.

Many family law practitioners grow weary of endless divorce litigation.  Of unpleasant and over-aggressive attorneys (we all have our own “no-fly” list). Of client despair (“So you’re telling me I might as well give up?!”). Of not being paid.  This work is emotionally taxing.  There is seldom follow-up with clients after a case concludes, even those whom we genuinely like.  After all, who wants to hear from the one person most closely related to the end of their marriage (aside from their ex) after the waters calm?  Who among us has ever felt concerned about personal safety after working a particularly difficult case involving one party with anger management problems (and possibly an affinity for firearms?)

Yet family law practice has its rewards. Family attorneys have unique skills: we are insightful and often empathetic.  We excel at interpersonal communication.  We are problem solvers.  At our best, we are a helping profession: acting as a guide to clients who are in the dark and often feeling very vulnerable.  It is an honor to help our clients through family-related legal problems.  The best way to serve our clients is by helping them to preserve their dignity and to make decisions in a way that will not cause them to feel shame or regret years after their matter is concluded.  While it is not impossible to have a good family law matter in a traditional context, it is never a guarantee.  Cases that start out smoothly can easily become derailed by one misstep: an e-mail that struck the wrong tone (often unintentionally). A poorly timed request. A genuine misunderstanding of intention.  I myself am guilty of misunderstanding and missteps.

I have known many family law attorneys who either stopped practicing law entirely or pivoted to another practice area mid-career. Something obviously needs to change and I believe a sea change is indeed coming.  I sense that the tide is turning in favor of extended ADR and Collaborative Divorce instead of the nuclear approach that takes a pound flesh from all involved (especially the poor children in these scorched earth cases).

As our Collaborative community continues to grow, I am seeing more and more thoughtful practitioners and many younger attorneys attracted to this process that asks everyone to show up in good faith: attorneys, neutrals, and clients alike.  Some matters should not be routed into the Collaborative model.  Obvious exceptions from Collaborative practice include matters involving domestic violence, coercive control, and unacknowledged addictions.  Most families, however, would benefit from the approach that creates a space for active listening, understanding, and slowing down when needed.

If you are reading this and you find yourself battle-fatigued from traditional family law practice or if you are curious about Collaborative practice, I hope you will take some time to reach out and learn about this unique and wonderful multi-disciplinary community of professionals committed to serving families with excellence and integrity.

I hope to still be practicing family law in 20 years; if I am, I know it will be because I have pared down my traditional family law practice considerably and have prioritized Collaborative practice and other forms of ADR.  I will revisit this blog entry and muse on the state of family law practice in Minnesota in 2043, I am certain, with gratitude and hope for families in Minnesota.

Rebecca Randen is a family law attorney and mediator. She practices Collaborative and traditional family law and is based out of Edina, Minnesota. Rebecca speaks Spanish and has represented many Spanish-speaking clients. Rebecca is serving her third year on the CLI Board of Directors and is serving as Board President through the end of 2023.

Rebecca Randen is a family law attorney and mediator. She practices Collaborative and traditional family law and is based out of Edina, Minnesota. Rebecca speaks Spanish and has represented many Spanish-speaking clients. Rebecca is serving her third year on the CLI Board of Directors and is serving as Board President through the end of 2023.

Randen, Chakirov & Grotkin LLC |



Every December our Collaborative community has a wonderful opportunity to gather for our Annual Forum.
The Forum is a time and place to connect with colleagues, become informed and educated about important professional topics, regenerate our passion and enthusiasm for our Collaborative work, and have fun!
You won’t want to miss this opportunity. We so look forward to seeing you and hope you will join us!

Event Details:
What: CLI Minnesota Forum 2023
Theme: Creativity in Collaborative Practice
Dates & Times:
Thursday, December 7, 2023
8:30 AM – 4:15 PM Educational sessions, time with exhibitors
3:15 PM Special Breakout session for students and non-member professionals to learn more about Collaborative Practice.
4:15 PM Happy Hour
6:00 PM Dinner
7:30 PM AJW Fun Factor
Friday, December 8, 2023
8:30 AM – 12:00 PM Annual Meeting, educational sessions
Full Agenda: Click here
Location: InterContinental Saint Paul Riverfront Hotel |11Kellogg Blvd. East, Saint Paul, MN 55101
LUNCH THURSDAY: Sandwich Shop Buffet:
DESSERT BUFFET: Cookies and bars
DINNER: Baby Beet and Arugula Salad with Candied Walnuts: Creamy Goat Cheese, Citrus, Orange-Vanilla Vinaigrette.
Choice of:
Sautéed Salmon | Paella Rice, Meyer Lemon Sabayon
Seared Chicken | Natural Pan Sauce, Smoked Gouda Mashed Potato
Butternut Squash Ravioli | Mascarpone Sage Cream Sauce, Sauteed Spinach, Balsamic Reduction
Dessert: Lemon Tart
CLI members must login to their online account to receive member pricing.


Both Days, with overnight, with dinner: SOLD OUT 

Both days, no overnight, with dinner:

Includes both Thursday & Friday
Includes Thursday Lunch & Dinner
Includes Thursday Evening Entertainment
Member: $375
Non-member: $450

Both days, no overnight, no dinner:
Includes both Thursday & Friday
Includes Thursday Lunch
Includes Thursday Evening Entertainment
Member: $350
Non-member: $425

Thursday only, with overnight, with dinner: SOLD OUT

Thursday only, no overnight, with dinner:
Includes Thursday
Includes Thursday Lunch & Dinner
Includes Thursday Evening Entertainment
Member: $225
Non-member: $300

Thursday only, no overnight, no dinner:
Includes Thursday
Includes Thursday lunch
Member: $175
Non-member: $250

Thursday dinner only
Member: $50
Non-member: $75

Friday Only:
Includes Friday
Member: $100
Non-member: $175

Continuing Education: (See agenda for specific credits)
CLE: Standard (X) credits pending
LMFT & MN Board of Psychology: Standard credits (X) pending
LICSW & ADR: A self-filing certificate will be provided (X possible)

Special Breakout Session for Students and Family Law Professionals
A special opportunity for Students and non-member professionals interested in learning about Collaborative Practice.
Registrants for this special session are invited to stay for the networking happy hour following the informational session, and for the add-on cost of $30, stay for dinner.
Cost for Students and non-CLI member professionals to attend the
3:15 PM Breakout Session: 

Attend the 3:15 Breakout Session & happy hour: $0
Dinner add-on: $30

 Deadlines, Cancellations, Parking:
-Deadline for registration with a hotel room is November 24.
-We can only guarantee an overnight room at the Hotel for the first 35 registrants, so please register EARLY!
-The deadline for Forum registration without a hotel is November 28.
-Refunds for Forum registration cancellation will be processed if notice of cancellation is received on or before November 17.
-While the room rate is included in the Forum attendance fee, attendees will be responsible for incidental charges to their reserved room.
-Hotel check-in is 3PM. Luggage may be checked with the valet.
-Check-out time is 11AM.
-Parking: Parking is available through the valet service at prevailing rates or nearby surface lots.

 Agenda: Click here
Sponsorship Packages available Click here

Sponsors Supporting the CLI Mission and Forum 2023
Annual Platinum Partner
Rainbow Mortgage, Inc. | Dave Jamison

Annual Gold Partners
OurFamilyWizard | Racheal Howitz

Keller Williams Integrity Realty | Lisa Proechel

The Prudden Company | Amber Tyrrell

Annual Silver Sponsors
Baker Vicchiollo Law LLC | Jolene Baker Vicchiollo

CrossCountry Mortgage, LLC Brett Leschinsky

Edina Realty | Jennifer Morris

Sponsors Supporting the Forum 2023

Forum Breakfast Sponsor
The Katallasso Group | Lisa Welter

Forum Lunch Sponsor
Cultivating Joy | Jillian Lydell

Forum Dessert Sponsor
Family Law Software| Nancy Shafer

Forum Charging Station
Alerus Mortgage | Randi Livon

Forum Materials Packet
Lear Appraisals, LLC | Bob Lear

Forum Happy Hour Sponsor
Thomson Reuters | Ryan Tauer & Steve Stauff

Forum Evening Social Sponsor
AJW Financial, Inc.  | Amy Wolff