Thursday, March 1, 2018

Why Does Collaborative Law Work?

Sometimes just explaining the Collaborative process isn't enough to convey how great a process it is. I have seen statistics showing successful outcomes in 85-90% of the cases where Collaborative Law was used.

So, why does it work?  Here are some of the reasons.  

1.  We have a team of professionals working together.  In a typical Collaborative case (at least in North Texas), we utilize at least four professionals:  2 attorneys, a neutral financial advisor and a neutral therapist who manages the Joint Meetings and also usually helps the parties put together a parenting plan.  Sometimes, we have a separate "child specialist" who helps the parties with the parenting plan.  All team members have training in Collaborative Law and experience in their fields outside of the Collaborative Divorce context. An experienced team of Collaborative professionals adds a tremendous value to the process.

2.  There is a focus on solutions, not fighting.  This is part of the contrast with litigation. We don't waste time assigning blame or accusing each other of various misdeeds. Obviously, if we're dealing with a couple divorcing, there have been misdeeds by both sides. Instead of looking backward, we focus on creating a better future for both parties.

3.  There is a lot of direct communication. This happens at meetings, most often under the supervision of the neutral mental health professional.  Part of what happens in the process is that both parties learn and practice better communication skills.  Most couples finish the process better able to talk about important matters without fighting.  That's especially important when there are children.

4.  The process lends itself to flexibility and creativity.  We are not bound to use standard solutions and statutory guidelines.  We start by focusing on what the parties want and need.  Then, we gather information and finally start choosing solutions to fit the circumstances of the parties. We have been very successful in getting Judges to approve highly customized solutions that our clients came up with.

5.  You and your spouse get to decide. You know what your needs are and your spouse does, too.  Instead of letting a disinterested Judge impose arbitrary and standard answers to everything, you get to come up with solutions you like and we make them the terms of the Decree of Divorce. You have the power to determine the details of your life after divorce and that is much better than turning it over a Judge to decide.

These are just some of the reasons why Collaborative Law works.  Yes, I am a fan of the process.  If you are facing divorce or have some other legal issue to be resolved, do yourself a favor and talk to a trained Collaborative lawyer about whether Collaborative Law could be used in your case.  I'll bet it can be!