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Frequently Asked Questions

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Why people choose this method?

Privacy – No court hearings and no pleadings or depositions in the public record. All meetings are held in private where personal and financial information can be sheltered.
Important to maintain good relationship with spouse – This is especially important to couples with children. To maintain open and effective communication with the other parent will foster a better environment to raise the kids and reduce the long-term negative effects of a litigated case.

Keep and control their own schedules – During divorce litigation there are many court imposed deadlines. In the collaborative process both members of the couple are able to set their own pace, which helps couples to comfortably proceed and avoid some of the pressures of the court imposed deadlines.

Save time and use money more effectively – Litigation can be costly and the result is often risky. Why not spend that money and get the benefit of trained professionals which could serve you well over the course of your new single life. Learn about finances from a financial professional and how to deal with your ex-spouse in a more constructive way from a mental health professional. This way at the end of the divorce process you have some tangible knowledge and skills to utilize.

Children’s well being is essential – Instead of spending time and money fighting, the collaborative process focuses on solutions. One such focus is on creating a workable time schedule for the kids. Most parents, while in the process of divorce, fight for the most time they can get, but never take into account whether that is actually going to work. There is school to consider, extra curricular activities, and homework. Instead of focusing on just grabbing time, a mental health professional can guide you to a more productive and workable schedule that will benefit all involved.

What if we both want the kids all the time?

Very often this is the case in a divorce, but who better to achieve a workable time sharing schedule than a trained mental health professional. Litigation on the other hand, operates. all to often, on a winner-takes-all approach, even with complicated issues like child timesharing. Both parents are entitled to see their children unless unusual circumstances exist, and this is the case regardless of whether you are litigating or collaborating, so why not sit down and work out the best time sharing arrangement you can.

This is such a new way to get a divorce, how do I know you have all the kinks out of the system?

This is not really true. Many attorneys try very hard to reach agreement with the other member, and divorce mediation has taken place for years. Also did you know that more than 90% of divorce cases settle without trial Usually what happens is everyone is angry or hurt at the beginning, but then after things cool off they realize how costly litigation is, and start to work toward settlement. The collaborative process gets you to the settlement phase sooner which lowers the costs/fees and acrimony.

My spouse wants as much money as he can get and pay little child support.

The great thing about collaborative law is that since we utilize financial professionals we often can achieve a win-win situation for everyone. So even though your spouse wants the most he can get, if we can show him he gets a good deal, he will not care if you get one too. This is the goal with employing accountants and other types of Financial Professionals. Many times certain assets are more appropriate to be had by different sides and this type of process is much better at deciding and explaining these issues than just two attorneys slugging it out.

Isn’t it true that collaborative law will only work if everyone is rational and wants to be fair?

Though many couples start out angry and vengeful, the process has developed ways to refocus that energy toward dispute resolution. This is why the process employs the use of mental health professionals and financial counselors. With these other professionals involved, the meetings can stay focused on positive progress, instead of slipping into the name calling and blame assignment so often heard about. Looking to the future is the message, rather than dwelling on the past. We try to get couples to realize that they can accomplish more and get better results by cooperating.

How is it possible to have three professionals represent me and still be cheaper than having just one Attorney?

Well this is not an easy question to answer and likely depends on many different things. We believe a blanket statement that collaborative is cheaper than litigation is disingenuous to our clients, however on the other hand it is rarely more expensive than litigation. The bottom line in this discussion is what do you truly value and want from this dilemma in your life. If you believe divorce is your only option and that it is going to occur, why not make the best of a bad situation. Fighting rarely brings any benefit; however the collaborative process has the ability to instruct the couple on the types of assets they currently own and what they are truly worth. How to handle these assets in the future and even who will benefit most from the different assets received. It will hopefully teach you how to speak to one another long after we are gone in a more effective manner, after all if you could interrelate effectively you would not be getting a divorce. A mental health professional can make suggestions on how to speak to one another, to reduce the occurrence of arguments and thus make things work better. As you can see attorneys are ill prepared to handle the emotional and even complicated financial aspects of some divorces, we are training to fight on your behalf, even if sometimes it is not in your best interest to do it.

How can I trust that the same person who cheated on me will honestly provide discovery in this case?

This is a great question. Just because you decide to go collaborative doesn’t mean we totally trust what the other spouse is doing. We still employ our skills to review the documents provided to us and determine whether or not there may be things missing. Keep in mind, no system is perfect, including the litigation process. Litigation has its share of hidden assets that “disappear” and are never found.

Can you give me a nice precise list of benefits to collaborative law?

Sure! Collaborative law:

– Emphasizes the future and down plays the past
– Helps teach the couple to speak to one another in ways other than arguing
– Educates both sides as to the nature and amount of their assets
– Provides more privacy on delicate family issues
– Allows both members of the couple to control the tempo of the proceedings
– Gives the members of the couple more control over their future
– Allows the couple to work out a better child time share schedule
– Normally is cheaper
– Is always a better use of the money you spend

Can you break down the differences between litigation and the Collaborative way?

In litigation: 

– Couples in disputes can feel lost, intimidated, powerless, and out gunned.
– The litigation process often seeks to assign fault to the divorce.
– The results can depend on an individual judge and might result in a ruling that no one desired.
– Members of the couple, couple, participants, etc. are often scared and even made angry – as they are subject to cross examination, subpoenas and depositions.
– The proceedings are public.
– The court controls the time schedule for almost all of the proceedings.
– Most times everything goes through your attorney who can micro manage the process and interpret spousal oddities as hostile. This may unnecessarily cause tension and additional hurt.
– Couples in litigation often negotiate indirectly through lawyers.
– Most of the time divorce cases never go to trial. However Attorneys spend most of your fees preparing to do just that. Collaborative law clearly focusses on working out a fair and balances settlement.
– Legal costs are not all within your control. A very litigious attorney on the other side could force you to spend money on depositions, discovery and hearings that you do not want.

In Collaboration, however: 

– The process affirmatively seeks to make both members of the couple feel as safe and comfortable as possible while working towards resolution.
– The process seeks to resolve problems and create solutions.
– The results are usually more predictable and within your control.
– The atmosphere is calm and no one is gearing up for war.
– The proceedings are private and done in a time fame that allows flexibility.
– The process is based on trust, but verification is done to make sure just in case. The members of the couple develop options and negotiate for solutions together with their respective lawyers.
– This process applies 100% of its energy to settlement. Posturing is reduced or eliminated.
– Legal and outside expenses are discussed and agreed upon in advance; resulting in better utilization of funds.

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