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Ep. 51 with Kim Korven from The Gentle Way Divorce

By May 29, 2020July 24th, 2023No Comments

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Episode #51 with Kim Korven from The Gentle Way Divorce

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Imagine a better way. A gentle way through family conflict or divorce. Today’s guest left her thriving law practice to create a better way for families to heal, move through conflict and remain whole.
Kim Korven is the Principal of The Gentle Way Divorce; a culmination of her life’s work.
Every family has some level of conflict. Consider talking with Kim if you feel there could be better options for your family.
Connect with Kim @ The Gentle Way Divorce


Barb McGrath 0:00
Here we go for another episode of The Secret Life of entrepreneurs. Today’s guest has a very unique story to tell. She wants to talk with us about something so many families are experiencing. And yet there is a better way. Our guest today is Kim Korven, owner of the Gentle Way Divorce. And she’s going to talk about how families are able to move forward more quickly, and feel at peace when a divorce does happen in families. But equally important, or maybe more important, at least to some families. She’s helping them save money. Welcome, Kim.

Kim Korven 0:45
Thank you, Barb. It’s great to be here.

Barb McGrath 0:47
It’s a pleasure to have you here. So tell me a little bit about the Gentle Way Divorce because that’s certainly usually you don’t put those two weight words together gentle in divorce means you don’t hear those two words together too often.

Kim Korven 1:01
No, it’s, this is true. I was a family law lawyer who saw I practice traditional divorce I’d seen as the whore.

Barb McGrath 1:16
Yes, that you know what that’s like, that’s a good word. I know so many family and friends and colleagues, and you hear the aftermath of divorce. And I suppose it’s that fine line between love and hate or love and despise right, there’s still passion there. So, so tell me like, how are you helping families through that?

Kim Korven 1:39
Well, it began with my with with me. And I, I was terrified of divorce, but I was unhappy in my marriage. And I was gonna stay married, you know, because this is what you do. Because I was I was afraid. And, and when you’re at that stage, you have like, zero self esteem, and you feel like a failure. And you just, right, it’s this gray reality, and you can’t talk to anybody. But I got to a point where I realized staying married was harming my kids. Yeah. I knew I had to do something. But there was there was no way I was going to subject my kids to what I had seen my clients experience.

Barb McGrath 2:31
Mm hmm. So that makes perfect sense to me.

Kim Korven 2:33
So I had to figure out a different way. And it all began from this knowledge that kids love their parents no matter what. And I’d learned that doing Child Protection work. Okay. You know, where you think parents have done these horrendous things that kids aren’t gonna want to have anything to do with them? Wrong.

Barb McGrath 2:55
There’s other parents, they’re still loyal. They’re still attached, it doesn’t matter what they’ve done.

Kim Korven 3:00
Exactly. So I knew that that was the reality. And I wanted my children to have the best relationship possible with their dad. They didn’t have it when we were together. Okay, so that was the guiding principle that they would have the best relationship possible with him. And everything. You know, it was just kind of instinctive from there. And now, people who knew both of us would say, how are you doing this camp? And I’d say, it’s nothing. Anybody can do this.

Barb McGrath 3:37
Oh, wow. Okay, so I have never been divorced. And I have no intention of getting divorced. But even I know, not everybody can do that.

Kim Korven 3:44
So and it was actually one of my cousin’s was involved in a really ugly traditional divorce battle. came, any ended up walking off the face of the earth.

No, oh, that’s terrible.

That was, yeah, that was when I realized, not everyone can do this. Mm hmm. And I started then reflecting on how did I do it? Because at the time, I was just one foot in front of the other. I mean, I felt like a failure. And it was just, I had no concept. So it took quite a bit of reflection before I put it together. And even once I did, and it started working with a few people. I still didn’t have the Gentle Way Divorce name. Okay. And I realized, maybe three years ago, like my background is Judo and I used to be their editor. Oh, yeah, they added

Barb McGrath 4:51
Oh, isn’t that interesting? Okay,

Kim Korven 4:53
Now Judo is it’s a martial art. It has too many principles the principles are the first one is maximum efficiency with minimum effort. Okay. And the second one is mutual welfare and benefit. And Judo, when you translate it into English means the gentle way. Ah, I realized, like I started practicing Judo when I was nine. And it was the biggest part of my life till I was 17 for many years, and I realized it’s those principles underscore everything I do, and underscore the approach I took in my divorce. Because it was all about the mutual welfare and benefits. Mm hmm. And I realized that in divorce, either the whole family wins, or the whole family loses.

Barb McGrath 5:50
Yes, exactly. And do you find when you’re working with clients, or get maybe I should back up a step? So the gentle divorce? Is it really just, um, or is that really just the name of your law practice? Or are you doing something different? Other than practicing law,

Kim Korven 6:06
I gave up my legal practice, okay. And I started doing this differently outside of being a lawyer last October, Mm hmm. So I’m a trained mediator as well. And I’ve got a training in negotiation, and all of those good, kind of softer resolution skills. Okay. So I do mediation work. But I also do consulting work with one spouse, like behind the scenes, helping with strategy, helping to keep things on an even keel, right, helping them really be able to communicate, it’s really is really what I do. And I’ve had clients who, you know, they come to me, do I have to want to get divorced to work with you? And I’m like, No.

Barb McGrath 6:57
Well, and, you know, that was my assumption. My assumption was that you’re working with couples once they’ve decided to divorce. Right? And so, okay, so as a mediator, if one spouse comes to you to help improve communication, because their relationship is breaking down, or one spouse isn’t interested in working with you, they just they really want the conflict. Because lots of times when we’re hurt, the conflict is, you know, part of what helps us get through something or where we feel like, okay, we have to have conflict, because we have to get this other person back. So tell me about that. How do you help families get through that, that really stressful period?

Kim Korven 7:41
Well, it’s interesting. We live in a world where we reduce everything to white, and black or married or divorced, which is why I have the word divorce in what I do, because people are looking for divorce. They think that’s the only option. And all and often we think conflict is the only option. The reality is, if you can have a really heartfelt conversation, it can change everything. Okay. Okay. So, and I and I learned that but I started my legal practice. I represented for man in a litigation matter on an appeal. Okay, what was an administrative issue? And appeals are really, really difficult to when there’s just a very narrow, huh? Yeah, there we go. So, the appeal was not successful, they had represented themselves at the hearing. And three of them paid, they each agreed, you know, it was a set fee, they each agreed to pay me the same amount of money. The fourth one refused to pay.

Barb McGrath 9:02
Because the appeal,

Kim Korven 9:04
Lost or Okay, okay. And I was thinking I knew he owned a vintage car that he was very proud of. And I was very litigious. I was like, I want to sue him. I want to see this car. And it was not a lot of money. But I was very litigious and absolutely, I was gonna make him pay.

But I knew the partners would not approve this guide of an atom bomb approach. Yes.

Barb McGrath 9:36
Well, and then you assure yourself that there’s no future business there either once the relationship is turned down, right, yeah.

Kim Korven 9:42
Yeah. What what ended up happening quite by chance, was we were approaching Christmas. And I was allowed to send firm Christmas cards to anybody I wanted on my client list. Okay. And I had a really short client list. This was just when I started started practicing. And I wanted to send Christmas cards to the other three,

Barb McGrath 10:06
But not him.

Kim Korven 10:07
I didn’t want to send to him. And I thought, No, no, I, I have to include him. So I sent a firm Christmas card to him, okay. And a few weeks later, the receptionist buzzed me on my phone and said, Can you have to come to the front? Okay. So I go to the, you know, to reception. And this gentleman was there. And he was there. Yes, he was there with his checkbook. And he talked to me and he said, You know, I was a real jerk to you can, and you sent me a Christmas card. No lawyer has ever sent me a Christmas card before. I am so sorry. I treated you like a jerk. Wow. Right. He paid. And what I learned from that is when you do the right thing.

Mm hmm.

And you’re completely genuine and you have no, there’s no ulterior motive, these really wonderful things can happen. Hmm. And that’s the same approach I take with getting the clients I work with if I were to communicating with their spouse. Yeah. So I had one client where he’d already been to see, you know, there in the states had been to see a divorce attorney. Okay. And they chatted, and she said to me afterwards, Kim, and she’s not touchy feely or woo woo. This is this is this is like your superpower. We talk like that in years. Mm hmm. I you know what,

Barb McGrath 11:46
I love that term. I think we all have a superpower. And half of the reason that we, you know, go through life, the way we do is to find that superpower. And once you find it, like the heavens part the sun shines through, right? It’s like, I love that phrase. I love that phrase. Now, I have to ask you something. You just had a drink of coffee. And it looks like you have a chip in the side of your mug. So you know, one of your favorite?

Kim Korven 12:13
Well, this is it’s a male bowling mug, right? But, and usually when I chip a mug, I throw it out. Like that, because it’s beautiful. But the other thing is, we tend to think we need perfection in everything. Yeah, complete perfection. And that’s the image we show the world. Mm hmm. When in reality, it’s these little kind of chips that make things interesting. Yes. And that’s what us to exist. Right? They exist in us. And it’s just this. It’s actually, yeah, there’s a chip out of it. But it’s hole, and it’s still functions, and it’s still beautiful. And that’s the same with you. And the same with me. And the same with my clients. Hmm.

Barb McGrath 13:02
You know, I think that’s a great analogy, because we’ve all got these public personas now, where when we share a picture on Facebook, it tends to be the best picture, we just took off the roll, or it’s the best picture of our kids because they’re actually getting along for the seven seconds. All right, none of us put our, our dirty laundry up on Facebook. And in fact, when we do, sometimes you kind of get a hard time about that, too. So you know, we’ve got these public personas and you know, when I do the video for the show, you know, my hair is usually done and like Forget it. It’s a Tuesday morning after the long weekend. I’m putting my hat on like I am good to go. And I

Kim Korven 13:45
I put on lipstick and Farah today. I haven’t done that in a long time.

Barb McGrath 13:51
Probably eight weeks since we’re just fed, right? Yeah.

Never mind the fact that you were you know, camping this last weekend and like camping, if you change your clothes, you’re doing good.

Kim Korven 14:02
Well, camping in my driveway. Come on.

Glee. I needed a change. Yeah. And, and I guess that’s part of the other thing I help people with is honoring who they are. Mm hmm. And helping them figure out what they really really desire. Okay, yep. in a way that’s respectful and so there’s me you know, I was getting antsy with my second husband and my two kids and all the paths and, and so I announced to my family two weeks ago, we are going camping on the long weekend in the driveway, and they know me so it’s like, okay, and my daughter is like, I hate camping. I am not coming camping. I will campground manager. She was so excited. This is the first time you trusted me enough to be home alone.

Barb McGrath 15:02
Oh, that’s good. That’s awesome. How old is your daughter? 15?

Oh, yeah. Is that funny that you say that because just this morning, that’s what I was thinking about. I’m like, you know, we’re not going away next winter, like we normally would. And, you know, maybe by the following year, who knows what kind of travel restrictions there will or there won’t be. But I found myself thinking at a time we can go again, we might be able to go without the kids, depending on how old they are at that point in time. No, you know, the kids are only 11 and going on 2313.

Kim Korven 15:39
Yeah, but girl, no doubt. Exactly.

Barb McGrath 15:43
Everybody gets it. But here’s the thing. Bless the child’s heart. I love her to death. I really do. But she’s been 23 since she was two. So I had a two year old teenager. And then I had a 10 year old teenager. And now I have a preteen teenage like,

I’ve been living in the teen years for, like,

10 years already. I would hear stories from friends who would be like, Oh, my teenagers did this. I’m like, Oh, my God all the time. And she’s only three.

Kim Korven 16:13

Barb McGrath 16:15
So I’m like, by the time she does hit the 20s. It has to like burn itself out here at some point right? out no net, like Fingers crossed.

Kim Korven 16:26
Oh, my goodness.

Barb McGrath 16:27
Okay, so let’s go back to the work that you do. Because I think that even having a different approach to how families can deal with conflict is, that’s a really new concept. Right? It was, we’re not getting along, we’re gonna fight. We’re gonna divorce, you know, fight over every, you know, spoon and fork.

So like, a How do people find you? Because I guarantee that, you know, if people know you exist, there’ll be a lineup, but then be like, tell me about that process, that approach that you go through with clients?

Kim Korven 17:01
Well, it’s, it’s, you would a lot of people I think, are so stuck in feeling like a failure. They don’t believe this is possible. They believe that has to be conflict. Okay. Yeah. Okay. And so those people don’t find me. And there’s a lot of people who want to blame their spouse for everything. Or not a good fit. Okay. Okay. Because this is really about, you have to take some responsibility, like even to say, it’s over. And to be able to put your kids really put your kids first. Mm hmm. Most of my people come from referrals. Okay, people who know me or people, like even when I was a lawyer, I would say to my clients to have money join to pay me or do you want to have money? for your kids? Yeah.

Barb McGrath 17:59
Yeah, exactly. And that’s, that’s a tough thing to think about. Because you, you know, you hear the stories about, you know, how much a divorce cost, and it’s just like, whoa, hey, first of all, you’re fighting over the money. And now, you know, you’re gonna have those kind of bills to pay. It’s huge.

Kim Korven 18:15
Well, and, and so, in terms of people finding me like Gentle Way Divorce, you can book a free consult. Okay, because I do a free 20 to 30 minute consult. I also if people just have like a one off kind of issue. Okay. I’ll do a one off, you know, and it might take me five minutes. And it’s the same rate as if it takes me 45 minutes talking with you. And a lot of it is common sense. And I don’t it’s it’s been a struggle for me to get the word out. Because there’s a lawyer. You wait for people to come to you.

Barb McGrath 18:57
Yes. Yes, you can go knock on doors. And

Kim Korven 19:02
so this is all new, this whole marketing thing. It’s like yeah, and if people want to get a sense of me, I have some videos on my Facebook page, Gentle Way Divorce, or I have started a private Facebook group called family peace, the family peace project.

Ah, yes, I did see that your rate?

Because like I had some women saying to me, I want to join, but I can’t because my husband then will think I’m thinking of divorce. Yeah, I’m like, well, you can have a really great conversation about that. But I understand it’s, I couldn’t have had that conversation with my first husband. The other thing is, I’m actually committed to family peace. Okay, so I work sometimes intergenerational.

Yeah. I never thought about that aspect. Right. Like like the businesses, you know, farm. Because it’s the same issues. Yeah, really, like conflict is inevitable, and we’re not trained and how to deal with conflict. And what happens with divorce, for example? So we’re not talking we think divorce is the only is the only Avenue. Yeah. And, and with with the legal system, you don’t take responsibility for anything that’s going wrong. Because that can be used against you. Right? Okay. That’s that’s the model in the litigation string in a traditional, so you’re not taking any responsibility. And you’re saying the other person is at fault, or we have no fault divorce. But let’s say in terms of where the children were. So you’re saying how wonderful you are and how horrible this other person is, is apparent? Great. Well, you can that is gasoline on the bonfire.

Barb McGrath 21:03
Exactly. Yeah. And so people end up.

Kim Korven 21:08
There was a research study done a few years ago, at the Canadian forum of Family Justice. Okay. And the average cost of divorce high conflict in Canada, that litigation model is $53,000 each, each Wow. And in that study, that the most somebody paid was 625,000.

Like retirement wiped out, yeah. Oh, my god, there’s no chance of Disneyland or a tropical vacation for a number of years. No,

Barb McGrath 21:47
Not for not for your typical family. And you wonder, okay, in a case like that, was it a family that, you know, had a significant amount of money? And that’s what caused so much of the conflict? You hope so? Oh, my goodness.

Kim Korven 22:02
Yeah. It’s like, holy cow. Yeah. And even on, on average, the high conflict that the couples who start with mediate mediation, and then you have to go to lawyers was about $28,000 each. Oh, wow. Okay. Whereas if it’s just mediation, it’s about $6,000. Each.

Barb McGrath 22:27
Oh, significantly different. Wow, that’s less than a quarter. And I would think, and this is where you can lend your expertise. I would think it’s also quicker.

Kim Korven 22:40
It is, because that high conflict litigation stream takes on average about 28 months.

Barb McGrath 22:47
Okay. Yeah. So a couple of years.

Kim Korven 22:50
And I mean, like, I was a collaborative lawyer, too. So I know that process, but I like being able to focus, like lawyers, the job is to focus on legal issues. Yes. And legal issues are life issues. Mm hmm. And if you people are stressed, and dealing with lawyers is not a fun thing.

Barb McGrath 23:15
No, that just adds to the stress.

Kim Korven 23:17
Yeah. And so it’s like, let’s help people demystify and take divorce off the pedestal. Mm hmm. Because I couldn’t be united, I haven’t been able to track accurately see the studies, the stats on divorce in Canada. In the States, it’s close to 50% of all marriages end in divorce. It isn’t. It isn’t a one off anymore. It’s really a fact of life. Yes. For many families. So.

Barb McGrath 23:47
And it’s it’s a business driver and a business engine. Right. I mean, divorce is keeping a lot of lawyers in business and paying, you know, their mortgages and their car payments. So they’re not interested in solving it.

Kim Korven 24:03
You said that? I did not. Right.

Yeah. But I mean, it’s the whole it’s a 19th century profession. Mm hmm. And, and, and that the profession came into existence in a time when the intellect was seen as much more valuable than the heart. Mm hmm. So it’s it’s particular model, and it works and it can be very effective. Yeah. But people need to know like, it’s it’s kind of the only transaction. You can be involved in where you don’t know what the outcome will be. And you don’t know what the cost will be when you enter the contract.

Barb McGrath 24:52
Exactly. But do you find that okay, if X has happened in your relationship, you You are more or less likely to be able to mediate and resolve or if y has happened in the relationship, then you’re more likely to be able to resolve through mediation. Do you find that there’s certain issues that you see a lot of success around mediation? where, you know, there’s other issues that when when that turns out to be the issue, you have a pretty good sense that that is just not going to work?

Kim Korven 25:28
People people surprised me. Okay. Okay. Yeah, really, if I really helped people focus on your children. Okay. At a really not a superficial level, but really, in terms of who are their kids? And what do they need? And and it’s, so it’s a different approach. So the, the more traditional kind of all mental illness, it won’t work. Well, it works. infidelity, it won’t work. Well. It can work. It can, okay, the real. The more challenging area is more. It’s coercive. If there’s coercive control. Ah, okay. The relationship there’s there’s a growing body of research on coercive control as being the predicator. Significant spousal violence, as in Oh, yeah.

Barb McGrath 26:39
Yeah. Okay. Okay. Wow.

Kim Korven 26:45
And, and coercive control, of course, is you can’t wear this, huh? You’re stupid. Here’s what you must eat. You know, cuz if you’re five minutes late coming back from the bank, you’re having an affair. Oh, wow. Yeah. Wow.

Barb McGrath 27:06
Kim, I wish I had asked you this question earlier, we actually only have about 30 seconds left. So we’re out of time. But Wow. Just before we do wrap up, can I get you to share all of your contact details with our listeners? And yeah, then then I would encourage anyone who wants or needs to learn more, because that course of pieces is huge. We’ve had a couple of guests on the show, specifically related to domestic violence. And so yeah, I wish I’d asked you that question a little bit earlier, but give us your contact details and then I will wrap this up.

Kim Korven 27:44
Okay, so it’s there on the screen. gentle way. The email is Kim. At Gentle Way Divorce, calm, the Facebook group, the family peace project, or like Gentle Way Divorce. There’s a Facebook page. And I think that’s about good. And you can have any back part. I won’t say no.

Barb McGrath 28:05
There we go. Yes, we can continue our conversation. That would be awesome. All right. That’s it for us today. Folks. If you’d like to be a guest, you can email me at Barb at Google or reach out on Facebook or Instagram at Above the Fold. ca. Just a reminder, you can even submit questions in advance of our live show on our Facebook page. I’m your host, Barb McGrath, local business owner and Google girl. Remember, you work hard for your success. Don’t keep it a secret. Bye for now.


Barb McGrath’s been cracking the online code for nearly 20 years. She helps local businesses get to the top of Google with digital marketing training, web design, SEO, online reputation and advertising. Most importantly, she’s earned the trust of Google.Barb runs the only Google-approved agency designed to show you how to turn the online “stuff” into in-store buyers.If you depend on in-person customers, you need Barb’s step-by-step, online marketing plan to generate a steady stream of onsite buyers and make it rain money. She is the host of the Secret Life of Entrepreneurs, a local radio show and iTunes and Google Podcast.