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Badass Women at Any Age

Nov 29, 2022

Answering the call that she heard at 7 years old, Nanci Smith always knew that she would pursue a career in law.  Early exposure to injustices around her, motivated Nanci to advocate for those who couldn’t advocate for themselves.  Nanci is a veteran divorce lawyer with over 30 years of litigation experience who is now a leading advocate for the collaborative divorce model and mindset. She is licensed to practice in Vermont and New York, and she teaches other lawyers about ethics, family law, custody, and collaborative divorce. Her first book, Untangling Your Marriage: A Guide to Collaborative Divorce,  dropped in October. Nanci  grew up in Detroit and Northern California.  She went to college at UC San Diego and obtained her JD and a Masters in environmental law from Vermont Law School.  She worked in private practice and for Vermont Legal Aid doing domestic violence work, representing people with severe psychiatric diagnoses, before she opened her own family law firm in 2005. She was married, now divorced, and has a fully launched daughter.

What You Will Hear in This Episode: 

03:28  Nancy’s personal journey

08:13  Self discovery and her own divorce 

14:01  Biggest challenges when going through a divorce

15:33  Collaborative divorce model

20:25  How you find a collaborative divorce attorney

24:04  Adversarial vs collaborative

28:13  Choosing a divorce process

40:07 Advice on not giving your power away


“I tend to look at divorce now through the lens of grief and  that has really fundamentally shifted the way I sort of approach life and people.”

“I'm a student of life and I like learning, life-long learning.”

“The hardest part is working through the emotions. What I say is a divorce is 80% emotional, 10% people, 10% financial.”

“There's a difference between stonewalling and just grieving and allowing somebody the dignity of their grief and their feelings.”

“It’s easy to behave badly,when you're just not feeling your best.”

“None of us are entirely blameless and I think the adversarial system sets it up so that we can just shame and blame rather than taking individual, radical responsibility for ourselves and I think that's where the opportunity is.”


International Academy of Collaborative Professionals

Nanci Smith Law

Connect with Bonnie





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