Monday, April 16, 2012

How to Speed Up the Collaborative Law Process

For many different reasons, people going through the Collaborative Law process are anxious to settle their cases quickly.  It may be to save money, to stop the pain and stress from the end of a relationship or just the desire to start another chapter in their life.  Whatever the motivation, the parties often are in a hurry to get it over with.
In the interest of speeding up the process, here are some things you can do if you are a party to a Collaborative divorce.
  1. Be available for meetings.  Be flexible with your schedule.  It sounds simple, but one of the top reasons for delays is the difficulty in getting three, five or six people together when they are all available.  On the other hand, if your schedule is extremely difficult to manage, Collaborative may be a better process for you simply because you have very little control over scheduling in a litigated case. 
  2. Gather information and documents early.  You and your spouse will need to provide detailed and up-to-date information on your children and your finances.  If you have it together early, in an organized fashion, that will save time.
  3.  Be agreeable.  You don't have to rollover and agree to everything your spouse suggests, but you can be pleasant and pick and choose only the truly significant issues to have extended discussions on.  If there are a lot of important issues that you need resolved, then be realistic.  It's going to take a while to work them out.  Don't expect your spouse to just agree to anything and everything you propose.  Be realistic.
  4. Be ready.  Show up for meetings.  Don't put them off, unless it is unavoidable.  Be prepared for the meetings.  When you get assignments to work on aspects of the case, be responsible and get things done.  If you can't complete your task, let everyone know ahead of time.  You might reschedule the meeting to avoid wasting time.  Generally, if you are concerned about speeding up the process, do your share -- on time!
  5. Follow the rules and the steps of the process.  At the first joint meeting (the one that often seems boring and unnecessary if you are in a hurry), we go over the steps we follow in the process (usually referred to as the "Roadmap to Resolution") and we discuss how everyone should act in the meetings.  If everyone behaves well and follows  the steps of the process, we can move along pretty quickly.
Keep in mind that Collaborative Law is NOT meant to be a FAST  process.  But, it is more civilized, less stressful, more efficient, private and set up for the parties to create a solution from their own decision-making.  If you follow the above suggestions, you will also operate as quickly as is possible.

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