As a trial judge who handled divorce cases for over a decade, I would frequently ask myself: “Really. Isn’t there a better way to do this?” As lawyers, we automatically apply our tools—investigation, discovery, court filings, demands, motions, and trial—to the case and can lose the family in the process. As judges, we take the information we are given, which may completely miss what is needed and perpetuate the battle; we then have to figure out a future for a family with filtered and unhelpful information. Attorneys may see a divorce case outcome as successful, but that “success” may not leave their client with what they want or really need, or leave the judge satisfied that she is making a decision that really fits this unique family.
In Colorado, the divorce is “no-fault;” but using the court’s litigation process to allocate property, calculate appropriate financial support, and decide how parents will share responsibilities for their children from two separate houses invites finger-pointing, blame, contentiousness, and hard feelings into an already stressful situation.
Given these challenges, the ongoing refrain of “there has to be a better way” has continued over generations. But there have been no consistently helpful solutions. Until now. The Consilium® Process has been proven to be that better way. Heidi Webb, a brilliant Massachusetts family law attorney, created that better way 16 years ago. Now she and I have partnered together to create The Consilium® Institute to teach lawyers, judges, financial advisers, and therapists how to follow that better way.
The Consilium® Process adapts and re-envisions an old system for our current times. In ancient Greece, judges used trusted advisors (their “consilium”) who knew that family well to help the judge make decisions about the family’s future. As a judge, I would have welcomed those insights. The Consilium® Process mirrors that way of thinking about a family and can be applied to any complicated situation you may face now as attorneys and judges to help parties who contemplate divorce.
The Consilium® Process works within existing statutes and procedures to restructure families rather than destroying them. It’s a seven-step process for truly understanding a family and creates individualized and desired case processes and outcomes.
All family law attorneys and judges can learn the transformative Consilium Process and benefit their clients. Heidi’s Consilium practice has been more satisfying to her, with much less stress and frustration than her previous, traditional family law practice.
I’ve spent my career searching for a better way. Consilium® is that better way. I retired from my judgeship to help found this extraordinary Institute that transforms the way lawyers, judges, and allied professionals handle divorce cases in every court in the country. The Consilium Institute is creating a national network of attorneys, judges, and allied professionals who want to be leaders in implementing Consilium’s Better Way. If you want to be part of that movement, or just want to know more about the Consilium Process and how it can change your practice, visit consiliuminstitute.com.
In 2021, Judge Field retired from the trial court bench in Colorado after almost 11 years in order to became a co-founder of the Consilium® Institute. The Consilium® Institute is the innovative professional educational arm of Consilium® Divorce Consultations. Consilium® Institute provides training and workshops for therapists, lawyers and collateral professionals and teaches those professionals the philosophy of and how to deploy The Consilium® Process. The Consilium® Process is a unique, proprietary seven-step process which holistically addresses the key legal, emotional, and logistical issues people confront when facing a possible divorce, with the goal of charting the optimal path to achieving each client’s distinctive long-term life goals for themselves and their family. Judge Field is recognized throughout Colorado and nationally for her leadership and trainings on issues related to domestic relations, domestic violence, mental health, mediation, and judicial and community education. Judge Field received her B.A. from the University of Nebraska in 1982 and her J.D. from the University of Chicago in 1985. Judge Field’s three passions are (1) helping people figure out things they can’t decide for themselves; (2) teaching; and (3) changing the world for the better. All three of those passions are achievable for Judge Field and for all family law professionals through the innovative Consilium® Institute.
Heidi Webb is the creator of the innovative Consilium Process, which works with clients, attorneys, and judges and other allied professionals to navigate a better way through divorce. Heidi has been licensed to practice law in Massachusetts and before the Federal District and Appeals Courts since 1986. She joined her family's law firm, Webb, Webb and Martin, established by her grandfather in 1912. She developed her practice primarily in the area of family law, representing parents and children, as both an attorney and as Guardian Ad Litem. Heidi is trained as a Mediator and a Collaborative Attorney. Prior to becoming a lawyer, Heidi received her Master’s degree in Education from Harvard University where she concentrated in Counseling and Consulting Psychology. Heidi has also worked for the Department of Social Services (now DCF) investigating cases of child abuse and neglect, the Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee advising psychiatric patients of their legal rights and the Office of the Middlesex District Attorney, both as a student prosecutor and as a researcher in the development of sentencing guidelines for perpetrators of child sexual abuse. Heidi is a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association, and formerly a member of the Massachusetts Collaborative Law Council and the Social Law Library and has served as an elected member of the Middlesex County Bar Association. Heidi currently serves on the Board of the Webb Innovation Center for Dyslexia (www.dyslexicswanted.org).