The Collaborative Law process is a constructive, problem-solving process rather than an adversarial one. As such, the role of the Collaborative Law attorney is somewhat different than the traditional adversarial attorney.
Your Collaborative Law attorney will:
1. Advise you about the legal issues involved with your case. Your Collaborative Law attorney has the same duty as any other attorney to alert you to the relevant legal issues in your case and the likely court outcome.
2. Be your negotiating partner while also empowering you to negotiate on your own behalf.
3. Help you understand and consider your spouse’s point of view and your children’s point of view.
4. Help you approach the case in a constructive, problem-solving way rather than an adversarial, win-lose way.
5. Work with you to help you identify your interests. An “interest” is something that is fundamentally important to you. Examples of interests include things like having an active role in your children’s lives, maintaining financial security and having a constructive post-divorce relationship.
6. Help you identify all available options and “reality check” which option or options best meet your interests.
7. Provide you with resources to make this life transition a bit easier to deal with. One example of this would be setting you up with a divorce coach who is a good fit for you.
8. Teach you effective negotiation and communication skills. This includes speaking effectively and listening effectively.
Your Collaborative Law attorney will not:
- Attack your spouse or try to paint them in a negative light.
- Approach the case in a combative, win-lose way.
- File a case in court or threaten to file a case in court (all documents will be filed at the end of the case after everyone has signed them – no court appearance is required).
- Hide or misstate information or help you do so.
- Take advantage of errors, mistakes or misstatements by your spouse or anyone involved with the case.
One of the most important decisions you will make in your case is what process option (mediation, Collaborative Law, etc.) you will select. You should make this decision after considering what process will best support you and your family. Reviewing and considering the above information should help you determine whether Collaborative Law is the best option for you.
Next: Read about the role of the Divorce Coach.