Choosing To Divorce Collaboratively
It is important for you to have confidence in the process you choose for your divorce. In order to have this confidence you need to do your “due diligence”, just like you do before making other important decisions in your life, like choosing a school for you children, or choosing a car that meets your needs.
Confidence comes from different places.
One is the relationship that you have with the lawyer with who you choose to work. The better communication you have with your lawyer the better working relationship you will have. The better working relationship you have, the more you will understand the process you have chosen for your divorce. The more you understand and are involved in the collaborative divorce process, the higher the probability that your result will be close to what you feel is fair and just.
A second source of confidence comes from you, the client. This confidence is related to the “due diligence” discussed earlier. While every person will have different ways of conducting their due diligence, the process you choose for your divorce and the professional that you invite to help you through your divorce process may be the most important decision you make.
As this decision is so important I offer you a few suggestions:
Educate yourself about Collaborative Practice. You do not need to read everything but, at a minimum, go to a few websites on Collaborative Practice and read them. If there is a couple of areas that puzzle you note the questions that you have. Having an introduction to the Collaborative vocabulary will be helpful as you interview your lawyer.
Your interview may be with an attorney. Or it may be with a collaborative coach, child specialist, or financial neutrals. When the collaborative interview takes place, two assessments are being done: the client is interviewing the professional at the same time that the professional is assessing the client to determine whether the client is a good candidate for a collaborative divorce.
If it is your style of doing things come with written questions. This helps to make sure that all your questions get addressed, if not answered. If you can, check the questions off your list as they get answered. My practice is to check in at the end of the interview and say ”Have I answered all your questions?”, or, “Did what I just said answer your questions?” Make sure the person you talk to does as well.
In my experience the questions clients ask during these interviews are like these: how long does the process last; how much will in cost; what is the law on a certain subject; and, how long have I been doing collaborative work.
While these questions provide information and, depending on the answers, may build confidence that the person you are interviewing, I suggest another set of questions that can lead to building your confidence through your doing your due diligence:
- What do you like about Collaboration?
- How do you find it different from your litigation practice?
- How much collaborative training have you had?
- Why do you do collaborative trainings?
- How often do you do collaborative training?
- What was the last collaborative training you attended?
- What were a few of the things that you learned from that training?
- How do the most recent things you learned help you be better at your collaborative work?
Confidence in Collaboration. It comes from you having the knowledge you need to make the decision on the process that works for you and choosing the collaborative professional best suited to help you during the process.