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Collaborative divorce: How Nanci Smith is reframing the conversation

Nanci Smith

Divorce. It’s a word that carries weight. Whether you’re divorced, heading down that path, pondering it, or know someone who is, you already know the associations that come with the word. Divorces can get ugly, from one partner being manipulative to another partner disrespecting the soon-to-be ex in front of the kids. Those are only two examples of the nastiness that can occur. To help create a more peaceful journey, lawyer Nanci Smith penned Untangling Your Marriage: A Guide to Collaborative Divorce. This book aims to reframe the conversation from shame and blame to respect and support through collaborative divorce.

What is collaborative divorce?

This question seems like a great place to start. As its name suggests, collaborative divorce is a collaborative resolution model. It is an out-of-court process that takes into account not only the law but also one’s well-being.

As a family practice lawyer, Nanci Smith, Esq., addresses the many faces of divorce. It is more than a legal entity. There are people behind the names on the files. It is an emotional, mental, spiritual, and financial process.

You might not have heard of the collaborative framework before. Many people think only of the court model. But, you both do have a choice as to how you go about it, and lawyers like Nanci understand that. She can help with deciding which option is best in your unique situation.

Empowerment through collaborative divorce

Collaborative divorce enables you to find your voice,” explains Nanci on her website. With her law team, you gain not only legal protection but other important supports, including a mental health coach and a financial expert.

Having a team means that you and your family get many needs and wants met efficiently. That is a major benefit of collaboration. All with the reassurance that they see you as a complete person.

Furthermore, you are treated with respect and dignity in an out-of-courtroom process. That allows for a more peaceful option as they settle your case.

And, if there are kids involved, a collaborative divorce model demonstrates to the youngsters that you are moving forward toward a brighter future and are resilient. That is an excellent role model to set as a parent rather than becoming consumed in shame and guilt.

Untangling Your Marriage: A guide to dissolving and rebuilding relationships

In her new book, Untangling Your Marriage, Nanci Smith offers a guide to collaborative divorce, but it really is so much more. She is untangling the myths associated with divorce and encouraging a non-adversarial framework.

The book looks at divorce through the grief lens, likening divorce to a death in the family. There is a feeling of loss, huge loss.

Perhaps my favorite review of this book is from Kelly Lewis, who writes, “Nanci Smith has written a nuanced and approachable book that is a gift to anyone looking for an approach to dissolving and recreating relationships.”

Yes! There is grief, but there is also the working towards stronger relationships and new connections in the future. It is a healthy approach, and the book cuts through legal jargon to explain the process in a clear way.


As you can see, Nanci Smith reframes the conversation by providing a safe and supportive process. She not only practices it daily at her law office but also writes to educate in Untangling Your Marriage.

Collaborative divorce can be hopeful rather than shame-laden. It can be respectful.



Top photo: Meet Nanci Smith. Photo courtesy of C.S. Lewis & Company Publicists.

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