June 19, 2017

There’s a New Sheriff in town, and that Sheriff is a hybrid.
Traditionally, people contemplating Divorce had one choice: each side hires a Family Lawyer and they begin the arduous, expensive, exhausting and sometimes pointless process of litigating Custody, Support, Alimony, Division of Property, etc. in a courtroom setting. This can serve to increase hostility between the parties and empty the parties pocketbooks, however, historically it was a divorcing person’s only option.
Then came Mediation. Some parties seek out a trained Mediator, to work with both parties and attempt to arrive at agreements regarding these issues. In Mediation, a fairly high level of trust between the parties is required in order for the process to work. Also, both parties must keep their “eyes on the ball”. A high level of hostility, a situation where one party wants to punish the other or situations where a party wants to gain every advantage, are counter-intuitive to the Mediation process. So where do parties turn when there may not be a high level of trust or Mediation just doesn’t seem to be working and the parties do not want to slug it out in a Courtroom setting?
I suggest Collaborative Law. As with Mediation, a Collaborative Practitioner is a specially trained professional, where the parties, in writing, agree to forgo litigation. Different from Mediation, where the Mediator does not represent either party, in Collaborative Law your lawyer represents you in a team approach to resolving your differences. What sort of team, you may ask?
Let’s say one party to a Divorce, or the couple together, have complicated financial issues. The parties may engage a Collaboratively trained accountant or financial planner, to join the team to review and analyze financial records, account statements, business accounts and the like, to assist the team in resolving issues.
In a different case, the parties may have complicated and delicate Custody issues. The parties and the team may decide to invite a Collaboratively trained psychologist to assist the children or parents in getting through these issues or, a Divorce Coach, who guides a party through the process.  There are various reasons why a Collaboratively trained Divorce Coach may be added to the team, to provide support to a divorcing party who needs support through the process.
You may be thinking that if I hire my lawyer, my spouse hires a lawyer and we go to Court, it has to be less expensive than hiring two lawyers, a psychologist, an accountant or financial planner and a Divorce Coach. Generally, you could not be more wrong. Whether a psychologist, Divorce Coach or financial expert is necessary is different in each case. The makeup of the team is tailor made to each case. Litigation is generally more expensive than a Collaborative approach. Want to talk more about Collaborative Law? Give us a call.