Thursday, May 1, 2014

What are Off-Line Meetings?

In Collaborative Law cases, you may hear the attorneys or other professionals refer to "off-line" meetings.  They are a refinement to the process that really helps the clients.

What are off-line meetings?  They are meetings between the clients and the neutral professionals, without the attorneys present.  The meetings can be with one or both of the parties.  If the parties meet individually with the professionals, normally each party will meet with the professionals, rather than just one party meeting with the professional.

Why have the off-line meetings?  They save time and money.  It is much more efficient for the parties to meet directly with the mental health professional (MHP) and financial professional (FP) to provide information and to get some guidance on what the issues are and how they are sometimes resolved.

Such meetings are also easier to schedule since they don't have to work around the calendars of two attorneys.

By not having the attorneys attend the meetings, the parties save a lot of attorneys' fees. Plus, the neutral professionals normally charge much less per hour than the attorneys do.

The MHP or child specialist can help the parties identify issues and do some preliminary work on formulating plans for support and possession schedules.

Similarly, it's better for the FP to directly tell the parties which documents are needed and then collect the documents from them.  The FP also prepares a spreadsheet with the information organized and reviews it with the parties before there's a joint meeting.

Bonus:  Both the FP and the MHP are very qualified at what they do and they help the clients produce great quality work that helps move the case toward final resolution.

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