Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What if You're Uncomfortable Talking About Your Case?

If you enter into a Collaborative Law procedure, you should expect to speak up for yourself, but don't feel overwhelmed if you are not comfortable speaking to your spouse or others in that context. You will have the support of your attorney, the neutral mental health professional and possibly a coach. For context, you should keep in mind that, in litigation, you could end up speaking/testifying in court, a much less supportive environment. 

If you are in litigation, there's not too much than can be done unless you can work out a settlement without going to court.   Otherwise, you will probably have to testify.  The other side can even call you as a witness.

In a Collaborative case, there are several things that can be done.

  • First, discuss the situation with your attorney.  In Collaboration, you are normally expected to speak up and give information and your opinion on different matters.  If you are not comfortable, please discuss that with your attorney as soon as possible.  The attorney might be able to reassure you, or the attorney might help you come up with some strategies to overcome it or compensate for the feelings. 
  • You should also discuss your feelings with the mental health professional (MHP).  We use the MHP in Texas as a communication coach.  She or he can help you deal with your underlying concerns or help you learn strategies to overcome the issue.
  • You can get  a personal counselor or coach for just you.  Please let your attorney know, but there's nothing wrong with getting some help for that issue.  If you don't know a counselor or coach, your attorney or the MHP can help you find one.
  •  In some cases, your attorney can carry more of the load for speaking at meetings.  Normally, we prefer for each party to speak for himself or herself, but it is possible to work out some other arrangements.  You can discuss that with your attorney.
  • The professionals can probably come up with other  ideas on how to help you,  They meet frequently by themselves during the Collaborative process, and they can customize some solution to work in your unique situation.
 The main thing is to communicate your feelings and concerns as early in the process as possible.  Your attorney is a good starting point, as is the MHP.  The good news is that the Collaborative Law  process is much more flexible than litigation in dealing with circumstances like this. 

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