“Divorce forces good people to make hard decisions during difficult times. During the 26 years that I have worked with families in divorce, I have learned that it is possible for most people to create a bright future during these difficult times. I have spent almost three decades working with divorcing families and studying the ways to help them make better decisions.” -Ron Ousky
Who I am
I grew up in Milroy, Minnesota, a tiny town of 268 people that, in the 1960’s was like living in a Norman Rockwell painting. While more than four decades of urban living has toughened me up a bit, I have retained romanticized notions about life’s possibilities.
I am not sure how this all led me to a career in family law but that is where I landed, and where I have remained since 1982. I think I was drawn to this work because of my passion for kids and relationships.
I realize it may seem odd that someone who believes in relationships would go into a business in which relationships are in disrepair and kids are faced with conflict. That’s not how I see it. Helping people who are facing challenges in their relationships is more rewarding; provided we can find the best way to help them.
I suppose the other reason I got into the family law business is because I like kids. I started out as a kid, (many years ago), and went on to have three of my own, (with some help from my wife of 40 years). Now my kids are even having kids; we are expecting our third grandchild very soon and loving every bit of it.
What I have done
I graduated with honors from the University of St. Thomas and with honors from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1982.
For the first 15 years of my practice, I helped families in the traditional way; using the court, or at least the threat of court, to protect my clients and their children. And I was good at it. I received significant recognition as a good trial lawyer and I impressed most of my clients. The person I failed to impress was myself. I could not help to see that, using these traditional methods often led to long term damage to relationships, and even to children that seemed intolerable, even when my clients ‘won”.
That was when I started looking for better ways. During the past 20 years, most of my practice has been spent helping my clients get better outcomes, through “out-of-court” strategies. In many ways this has been more difficult; steering people who are angry and scared away from their impulses can feel like swimming upstream on some days. But I’ve come to really believe in it; and I have found (and even helped develop) some truly innovative ways to help my clients get better outcomes through things like Collaborative Law and mediation. I have even become internationally recognized for my work in these new areas, (see below). As much as I take pride in what we have accomplished at Ousky Law office, it is very humbling work. I learn new things every day.
In 2006, I co-authored The Collaborative Way to Divorce: The Revolutionary Method that Results in less Stress, Lower Costs and Happier Kids, Without Going to Court, with Stu Webb, the founder of Collaborative Law. In 2015, I was awarded the Lawyer as Problem Solver Award by the American Bar Association. I have had the opportunity to speak at many events and forums on the topic of Collaborative Law and I have conducted training seminars throughout North America, South America and Europe.
I have handled thousands of family law cases, including hundreds of cases in each of the following areas: traditional negotiation; mediation; Collaborative Law and litigation. I am also the cofounder of the Collaborative Alliance Executive Suites, believed to be the largest interdisciplinary family law center in the world.
I have always said that if I ever reach a point where helping families in transition becomes uninteresting to me, I will happily retire. But I feel I am a long way from that point. Every client who walks through the door presents a new story, a new opportunity to grow; a chance to help someone who is going through one of the most difficult times in their life find a better way.
- Recipient of the 2015 Individual John W. Cooley Lawyer as Problem Solver of the Year Award from the American Bar Association. This award is given to a member of the legal profession who has exhibited extraordinary skill and creativity in promoting the concept of the lawyer as problem-solver or in effectively resolving problems at the individual, institutional, community, state, national, or international level.
- Recipient of the first Stu Webb Award from the Minnesota Collaborative Law Institute in 2006
- Selected to Super Lawyers: 2003 – 2004, 2006 – 2008
- Selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America in the field of Collaborative Law
- AV Rated, (highest rating) Martindale Hubbell
- Top Lawyer in Minnesota, Mpls/St. Paul Magazine, Law & Politics Magazine and Twin Cities Business Monthly
- Past President and Board Member, International Academy of Collaborative Professionals
- Past President, Collaborative Law Institute of Minnesota (2002 and 2003)
- Founder, DivorceChoice.com a website providing information for families since 2001
- Frequent speaker on Collaborative Law and alternate ways to resolve conflict
- Ron appeared on CBS television and on WCCO radio promoting collaborative methods and multi-disciplinary ways of resolving family conflict
- Co-Founder of Collaborative Alliance, Inc.
- Co-Founder of Family Matters, the first interdisciplinary family law group in Minnesota
- 2011 CLI Annual Forum: “Minding Your Collaborative Business”
- September 5th and 6th, 2014: “Developing a Profitable and Satisfying Collaborative Practice: Getting More Collaborative Cases,” Co-trained with Woody Mosten.
- 2014 CLI Annual Forum:
- December 5th, 2014: “Working with Difficult Clients/Breaking Impasse” (December 5th, 2014)
- December 5, 2014: “What Does it Mean to be Collaborative?”
- Oct. 26, 2020 (Chicago, IL) —IACP Networking and Educational Forum—“From Core Principles to Creative Innovations: Building on the Experiences of the Past to Create and Sustain the Collaborative Practice of the Future”
- October 29, 2016 (Lake Las Vegas, NV) “Collaborative Teams: Compelling Teams or Creating Compelling Teams?”; Co-Presenting with Kimberly Miller, JD, LAMFT; IACP Forum
- October 27, 2016 (Lake Las Vegas, NV) “Purple Cows and Common Sense: Inspiration and Ideas for Creating and Sustaining a Remarkable Collaborative Practice”; IACP Forum
- 2009 (Minneapolis): “Support your Team: The Emerging Role of Support Staff in Improving the Collaborative Process for Clients and Professionals”
- 2010 (Washington, DC): “Minding Your Collaborative Business”
- 2011 (San Francisco): “Nourishing the Purple Cow: Building and Maintaining a Remarkable Collaborative Practice”
- 2012 (Chicago): “Divorce: What’s Love Got to Do With It?”
- 2013 (San Antonio): “Setting it Up and Breaking it Down: Optimizing outcomes from joint meetings through effective pre-briefs and debriefs.”
- 2015 (Washington, DC): “Beyond Marketing: Growing Your Collaborative Practice through Passion, Innovation, & Courage”
- November 2017 (Rio de Janerio, Brazil) —“Collaborative Practice: How it Began and Where It Is Today”
- Feb. 7 and 8, 2020 (San Diego, CA) —“Building a Successful Collaborative and Mediation Practice”
- August 26, 2016, 2016 (Indianapolis):“Beyond Marketing: Growing Your Collaborative Practice through Passion, Innovation, and Courage”
- August 19-20, 2008 (South Bend): “Introduction to Collaborative Law”
- June 28, 2013 (Indianapolis): “Collaborative Practice: Taking it to the Next Level”
Iowa: “Introduction to Collaborative Law”
- March 11-12, 2010 (Cedar Rapids)
- May 12-13, 2011 (Cedar Rapids)
- November 17-18, 2011 (Spirit Lake)
- June 28-29, 2012 (Dubuque)
- September 20-21, 2012 (Sioux City)
- February 6-7, 2014 (Des Moines)
- April 8-10, 2010 (Rome): “Introduction to Interdisciplinary Collaborative Practice
- September 23-24, 2010 (Rome): “Introduction to Interdisciplinary Collaborative Practice
- June 4-5, 2015 (Ascoli Piceno): “Introduction to Collaborative Law”
- March 4-5, 2016 (Tampa): “Promises and Challenges: Maintaining High Aspirations and Reasonable Expectations”
- Feb 19, 2020 (Honolulu, HI) —“Navigating the Changing Legal Climate”
- Feb. 28, 2020 (Lansing, MI)—“Purple Cows and Common Sense: Inspiration and Ideas for Sustaining a Remarkable Collaborative Practice”
- November 4, 2016 (Edina) “Up Your Financial Game Plan: Tactics and Strategies to Deepen Your Financial Knowledge in the Divorce Arena”; Co-Presenting with Amy Wolff, CFP, CDFA
- March 1, 2020 (Hackensack, New Jersey) —”From Core Principles to Creative Innovations” and “Top Ten Tips for Growing Your Collaborative Practice”
- July 19-20, 2006: “Introduction to Collaborative Law”
- October 26, 2016: “Collaborative Family Law: What every family law attorney needs to know about this rapidly growing conflict resolution method,” Nebraska State Bar Association
- March 12 and 13, 2020 (Rochester, New York) —“From Defending to Blending” and “From Core Principles to Creative Innovations”
- October 20, 2006: “Collaborative Law: An Intermediate Training”
- October 5, 2006: “Collaborative Law: An Advanced Training”
- September 28, 2006 “Collaborative Law: An Intermediate Training”