My first collaborative divorce training was a two-day basic course in November 2013 in Miami, followed by a second training in March 2014. Since then, I have continued to hone my skills through attending the International Association of Collaborative Professionals conferences.
I found the training to be inspiring and motivating. It helped me realize there is a better way to help families than trusting a judge to decide their futures, after that judge saw a snapshot of their lives and at least two attorneys argued over the issues. Custody cases are brutal and destructive – neither parent ever forgives the statements made by the other parent during the proceedings. Litigants demand “justice” but they don’t know what that term means in the family law arena. Is it control over the children? Sending one parent into financial crisis? Convincing teachers, relatives and friends that the other parent is terrible? Hiding assets and money? These dynamics lead to an expensive, emotionally draining and traumatic process. Also, the litigants’ “dirty laundry” becomes public record.
The motto of my practice is “Respect, Resolution and Rebirth” and the collaborative process epitomizes this motto.
The parties and a joint professional team all enter into a Collaborative Agreement, which has a goal of eliminating the negative economic, social, and emotional consequences of litigation. They all commit to the process to achieve a resolution acceptable to the clients under their specific circumstances. All communications will be respectful and constructive. The parties acknowledge that inappropriate communications can harm their children. Both parties commit to full and candid disclosure of all information to evaluate and resolve the case. If the parties don’t resolve their issues, they will have to hire new attorneys and experts to litigate.
Once the parties agree, their lives change. They can move on and be reborn.
What I like most about collaborative is that the parties control the process and make the final decisions. There is mutual respect and open disclosure. The professional team is composed of “joint neutrals”, e.g., attorneys, team facilitator, CPA, and possibly a child specialist, meaning they don’t advocate for either party but examine the issues. The process is private and supportive.
However, some cases can’t be handled in a collaborative manner. The process will fail when a party wants to hurt the other party and doesn’t care about the emotional and financial costs. Fortunately, I’ve found that most people faced with a divorce don’t want that.
When the parties are concerned about the expense of collaborative, they should consider the Streamlined Approach, which can dramatically reduce total expenses. The Streamlined Approach encourages more off-line meetings between the parties and the joint neutrals, with a reduced number of meetings and time spent in each meeting.
In addition to divorce cases, prenuptial agreements and paternity cases can also be handled collaboratively. The bottom line – going collaborative can reduce the odds of the “divorce from hell” and keep your levels of stress and upset in check.
Give us a call to learn more about the benefits of collaborative: 813-253-2820 or contact us to set up a consultation: firstname.lastname@example.org