What You Need To Know About the Collaborative Divorce Process
In the United States, the typical duration of a marriage that ends in a divorce is just eight years. Many people have heard horror stories about long, stressful divorce processes that end up with the airing of dirty laundry and much frustration in court, but working with a collaborative divorce lawyer could reduce the level of stress and the amount of time that it takes to end a marriage. Before you choose a collaborative divorce attorney, here are some questions to ask.
Will You Consider What my Spouse Wants in the Divorce Settlement?
This type of question gets to the heart of collaboration versus cooperation. A collaborative process ensures that the other person’s goals are met, even when those goals don’t match yours. Collaboration is more difficult than cooperation. It’s about mutual benefits and common goals. By the end of a marriage, many couples have few goals in common. However, some common goals might include ensuring what’s best for any minor children or protecting meaningful assets, such as the family home. A collaborative process requires both parties to respect each other’s goals and concerns and to understand that no agreement will be reached until both spouses meet their personal goals.
Can Divorcing Spouses Really Collaborate on the End of Their Marriage?
An attorney who has experience in collaborative law understands the differences between positions and interests. Positions relate to insisting on a specific result. Some would call this “a line in the sand.” Interests involve keeping an open mind about different options that meet one’s needs. Collaborative attorneys counsel their clients to explain their interests and avoid taking positions.
Do Collaborative Divorce Lawyers Work Well With Other Professionals?
Most collaborative divorce attorneys will work with other professionals who are advising their client or the other spouse during the divorce process. For example, the client might work with a financial advisor for clarification regarding financial concerns about spousal or child support, retirement, or avoiding bankruptcy. The financial professional could provide advice on structuring the settlement of the divorce in order to meet each spouse’s financial needs and goals. Collaborative divorce attorneys may also work with child therapists or psychologists who represent the child’s voice and perspective.
What Types of Collaborative Training and Experience Do You Have?
Collaborative law isn’t taught in every law school. An attorney who practices collaborative law often learns these techniques through professional associations or affiliations with specific groups. These groups offer ongoing training and educational opportunities. You may want to ask the attorney how many collaborative divorce cases they have worked on and how many of those cases were settled through collaboration versus how many of the cases went to court.
Do You Belong to Any Collaborative Law Groups?
The law evolves over time, and psychologists, legal scholars and other professionals frequently develop new techniques for successful collaborations between conflicted parties. A key way for a collaborative divorce lawyer to keep up-to-date on evidence-based collaborative processes is through a professional group affiliation. In Pennsylvania, many such groups exist. For example, the Central Counties Collaborative Law Community is a group consisting of licensed attorneys, psychologists, financial professionals and others who work with divorcing couples on collaborative agreements.
When a divorce is in your future, a collaborative process may reduce the stress on everyone involved. A consultation with divorce lawyer provides you with the information you need so you can make an informed decision about the legal process. To schedule a consultation with the Law Office of Joanne Kleiner in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, call (215) 886-1266. You may also fill out our contact form, and an office associate will contact you.