Thursday, September 15, 2016

Will it Work?

When you hear about some new idea that someone urges you to try out, one of your first questions may be, "Will it Work?". We don't want to waste time and money on something that doesn't stand a chance of working.

It may not work.
Anyone telling you about Collaborative Law will have to admit that there is a chance that the process won't work in some cases.  Sometimes it's because of the parties involved, other times it's the whole context of how the matter is happening.  Many times it can be because of outside forces, such as pressure from family members, time constraints or work issues. It can also make a difference it you choose to work with experienced versus inexperienced professionals.

Failure is rare.
The down side is that if the process is unsuccessful, the professionals have to withdraw and the there's added costs for the parties in getting new attorneys.  The good news is that failure is rare. 

Here are some common circumstances which sometimes unnecessarily scare people away from using Collaborative Law.

1.  One or both parties are mad. Actually, that's not unusual.  These are divorces after all. When we work with a full team, including the neutral mental health professional, communication improves greatly. People end up working together much better because they are surrounded by trained professionals who help them learn better communication skills.  That's an extra benefit of using the Collaborative process.

2. One doesn't trust the other party.  Again, that's common when people get divorced.  Again, trust is managed and greatly improved with the involvement of the neutral mental health professional, the neutral financial professional and two lawyers, all watching over everything. Part of the Participation Agreement everyone signs at the outset is an agreement to be open and honest.  We all also agree to correct any mistakes anyone finds.  This is about the most protected people can be in a negotiating process.

3. Someone believes the other party can "out-negotiate" them.  That's not even an issue because of having the team working together. Plus, we negotiate differently.  We don't use car-buying tactics.  We approach it differently by getting both parties to tell us their real goals, interests and needs. The negotiations focus on meeting the goals for both parties, rather than creating a "win-lose" scenario in which only one party is satisfied.

If you have any of these concerns, please talk with your attorney.  If you are meeting with a trained, experienced Collaborative attorney, your questions will be answered and your concerns laid to rest. While these are common issues, you really should have no problem entering into the process under these circumstances.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Why Do We All Meet in the Same Room? Part 2 -- Benefits

We recently discussed why having Collaborative meetings works when all the parties are in the room sitting around a common table.  It's a safe, effective and well-managed process.

This is in contrast to the typical litigation scenario where the attorneys speak for the clients or ask questions in court and the Judge makes rulings which may or may not actually help the parties work through this difficult process.

If you choose Collaborative Law, you will have the meetings in the same room, but there are a number of benefits from meeting directly together. Here are some to consider.

1.  The direct contact improves communication.  It's not filtered or interpreted by having the attorneys speak for you or against you.  You can speak for yourself, with support from your attorney and the other professionals.

2.  Everyone feels safe.  We don't wander off topic or allow ambushes.  We plan an agenda and stay with it.  If someone starts feeling anxious or upset, the Mental Health Professional (MHP) can step in and restore order.

3.  Both parties get heard.  A frequent complaint about Court is that one or both parties don't really get to say what they want to say in Court.  In Collaborative, the parties are encouraged to speak up.

4.  Collaborative is an efficient process.  You can get immediate answers and you can continue a discussion as long as is needed and then move on. You can directly address issues and get resolution.

5.  The process becomes real for everyone.  Direct participation, discussion and the ability to make decisions and agreements is in sharp contrast to litigation. There, technical legal issues sometime take over and dominate discussions, instead of having humans thinking and acting cooperatively to find their own solutions. In Collaborative cases, the parties are in control of their own outcomes.

If you are facing a divorce and are deciding how to proceed, please talk with a trained Collaborative lawyer who is experienced with Collaborative cases.  You can find out if Collaborative would be right for your case.