Jeanne practices collaborative law, an alternative to the adversarial court process. Collaborative law provides an opportunity for you and your spouse/partner to control the process and make the final decisions. During this process, you and your spouse/partner pledge mutual respect and openness and control the timetable.
Jointly retained specialists will provide information and guidance to help you achieve informed and mutually beneficial solutions. The process and negotiations are kept private and the court is not involved except to finalize your agreements.
If you or your spouse/partner stop the collaborative process before a resolution is reached. Need to hire litigation counsel. The work of specialists as part of collaborative can still be used by new counsel.
The costs of collaborative are usually much less expensive than contested litigation. I am a member of the collaborative group, Next Generation Divorce, that supports reduced rate agreements by the collaborative team for those with middle to low incomes.
To learn more about collaborative law, review the link here.
The collaborative process is an alternative to traditional methods of resolution. It can address divorce, paternity, same-sex marriage, pre- and post- nuptial agreements, and other family law matters.
The collaborative process is a professional team approach. Typically, parties are represented by collaboratively trained lawyers. The team also is comprised of a team facilitator who is trained in mental health or communication, a forensic certified public accountant, and sometimes, a child specialist who addresses children’s issues.
Our initial consultation which is typically virtual, allows me to learn about your situation and discuss how the process works and whether it is right for you and your family. The next step is for you to retain me and I will contact your spouse/partner to see if they are also interested in proceeding collaboratively. Your spouse/partner’s attorney and I will discuss what other professionals will be a good fit for the team.
The chosen facilitator is the team leader. One of his or her first steps will be to meet with you and your spouse/partner to evaluate whether you both are suited for the collaborative process. The requirements are the ability to be transparent, respectful, and committed to reaching an agreement. To begin the process, both parties and the full team must sign an agreement to proceed collaboratively.
The team will first meet with the parties to review how the collaborative process works and address an agenda for resolution of any issues. As many meetings as needed will be scheduled to agree on how to spilt assets, provide financial support, and develop a parenting plan. The parties are in charge of the pace and timing of the process.
Because creativity and option-building are critical aspects of the process, agreements can be reached collaboratively that could never be obtained in litigation. The entire team works towards helping you and your spouse/partner reach an agreement in a way quite different from litigation.
If an agreement cannot be reached, and the process stalls or collapses, the parties must hire litigation attorneys. Information obtained through the collaborative process cannot be used in litigation unless the parties have agreed financial information can be disclosed to minimize duplicative expense. Members of the collaborative team cannot be compelled to participate or testify in the litigation case.
You can learn about how one of my clients experienced the collaborative process here.
Promptly furnish all documents requested by the team professionals.
Make yourself available for meetings with the team professionals.
Be an active member of the team.
Share your information and thoughts with your attorney and your team.
Do your assigned homework promptly.
Trust your team.
Have an open mind—don’t be set on one way of solving the problem.
Each party will be represented by a Collaboratively trained attorney. The attorneys will select a leader, known as a facilitator, who is mental health or communication trained, who will run the meetings. Most of the time a forensic CPA is a member of the team to address the financial aspects of the case.
The leader will meet with the parties initially to make sure the Collaborative Process is suitable for you. All team members sign a Collaborative agreement which states the process is confidential, the parties will always be respectful and transparent, and, if they are unable to reach an agreement, the process will terminate and the parties must hire litigation attorneys.
The team will engage in creative problem solving and help the parties come up with a workable solution for the family. The attorneys are sensitive to making sure the final settlement is good for all parties.
The team will meet to discuss topics on an agenda furnished in advance to you. The number of meetings depends on the parties—some people move slower in the process than others. The team can only go as fast as the slowest person.
The costs depend on how many meetings are necessary, the number of team professionals, and the complexity of the issues to be resolved. Collaborative Divorce is much cheaper than litigation. Talk to your attorney and ask for an estimate of the costs.