Thursday, February 1, 2018

How Can I Have a Peaceful Divorce?

If you really want to avoid fighting, as much as possible, in a divorce, here's what you need to do.
1.  Choose Collaborative Law.  If you get into traditional litigation, you may be drawn into more conflict.  Most of the time in litigation, you are placed in opposition to your spouse, rather than working with him/her to find win-win solutions. Most divorces will eventually get into mediation, but that's late in the process after a lot of damage has been done.

2.  Work with a team. In North Texas, almost all Collaborative divorces involve bringing in a neutral mental health professional and a neutral financial professional to work with the parties and attorneys.  The neutrals help the quality of the agreements on parenting and property division, as well as helping the process move along smoothly.

3.  Focus on goals, needs and interests of both parties.  Doing that helps make sure we deal with the most important matters and not get bogged down in minor issues. We can be a lot more efficient as well.

4.  Hire experienced Collaborative Law attorneys.  As a starter, you want to make sure the attorneys are trained in Collaborative Law.  Just as in most other matters, experience helps.  It's nice to have someone who has dealt with your issues before so look for a Collaborative attorney who has done it for a while.

5.  Be willing to try new approaches.  Don't get locked into what your family and friends tell you.  Be open to new ideas, especially if you have an experienced team of professionals helping you.

6. Understand that neither party can control the process alone.  You have to work together and you can get better results if you are willing to bend a little.  Usually, you have to give a little to get a little. It's easier to do if you're expecting it.

7.  Focus on improving your relationships.  In the Collaborative process, there is an emphasis on learning better communication skills, including listening.  If you and your spouse are able to work together, instead of against each other, that cooperation normally spills over into other parts of the post-divorce relationship.

To get a peaceful divorce, be willing to try new approaches and be willing to help from several directions.  You'll be glad you did.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Should You Consider Collaborative Law for a Divorce?

At this time of year, many people decide to file for divorce.  Often they delay to get through the holidays and then plan to file in January or February. If you are one of those people, you may be considering filing for divorce and using the Collaborative Divorce process, or you may be undecided on how to proceed. Either way, here are some points to ponder as you decide how to go forward.
Why should you consider Collaborative Law?  It’s worth looking into if any of the following might be important to you:

•    Privacy.
•    Control over the timing.
•    Control over the decision-making.
•    Expert neutral help in working out a parenting plan for your children.
•    Expert neutral financial help so you can understand your finances.
•    Expert neutral financial help to gather, organize and review your financial information to make sure it is all reported and is accurate.
•    Expert help moderating negotiations to keep them safe, efficient and  productive.
•    Both parties using well-trained attorneys to advise and help work out solutions.
•    Avoiding court hearings.
•    Replacing expensive, formal Discovery procedures with informal cooperative efforts overseen by neutral experts.
•    Keeping on good terms with your ex-spouse for the benefit of your children
•    Creating customized property division plans focused on what’s important for you and your spouse.                           
•    Creating customized plans for sharing time with the children
•    Coordinating and controlling, by agreements,  your financial planning for the family into the future.

You probably have many questions about the alternatives. The best way to get answers is to go see an attorney who is trained and experienced in Collaborative Law.  You can find out about timing, cost and how to get started. It helps to get direct answers that apply to your case.

Note:  if you meet with a Collaborative attorney who tries to talk you out of using Collaborative Law, please do yourself a favor and get a second opinion from a trained and experienced Collaborative attorney.  Unfortunately, some attorneys advertise themselves as Collaborative attorneys, but they use that to draw in potential clients and then talk them out of using the process. Do yourself a favor and get a second opinion.