It isn’t a touchy-feely job title: divorce attorney. Law school training sets a certain scene: a courtroom, a winner, a loser. The attorney’s job is to find evidence of wrongdoing from the opponent and to form an argument to prove their client is innocent. In this inherently adversarial process, attorneys do not make friends of the “other side.” For many areas of practice, such as insurance … [Read more...] about How Collaborative Divorce Has Made Me a Better Lawyer
Litigation and Collaborative Divorce models both involve significant negotiation. Most litigation cases end in a negotiated settlement prior to trial, but the negotiation is frequently under the pressure of looming deadlines, such as temporary hearings, depositions and other discovery deadlines, mediation, and the trial date. The court system is in control, negotiation feels pressured, and it may … [Read more...] about What does Advocacy Look Like for the Attorney in the Collaborative Divorce Process?
1. Choose with Care the Time to Talk Do not bring up divorce a.) at the end of a difficult day for either of you and/or b.) in front of your children, ever! A “state of readiness” exists when it comes to divorce. Spouses are rarely in the same spot at the same time. One or the other may need to move more slowly than anticipated when adjusting to the shock of a new reality. Collaborative … [Read more...] about Top Ten to Consider Before Talking Collaborative Divorce with your Spouse
Most people are uncomfortable with and adverse to major life change. This is human nature. It is not surprising that when people face separation and impending divorce, they grapple with disorientation, disillusionment, and even outright fear. With the reality of an uncertain future, vulnerable and off-kilter, perception is often a sense of being without protection. Communications can register … [Read more...] about Transitions: How Do We Feel Safe in Times of Change?
Good question. Over the past few years, over countless hours, Texas proudly becomes the first state to develop a methodology for recognizing collaborative professionals who have attained the highest standards of collaborative practice. The focus of the work has been to offer the public a peer-recognized means for evaluating the skill set of collaborative professionals to help potential clients … [Read more...] about What Exactly Is a “Collaborative Divorce Professional”?
As practice groups “age,” the enthusiasm of its members often declines. This can be reversed with a clear sense of awareness of the occurrence and a focused attention for solutions. The mission and goals of the group must be thoroughly and specifically articulated. Begin with a simple question. “What do we want?” Is it increased referral sources, opportunities for additional education? Is … [Read more...] about Spice Up, Enthuse, and Reignite Your Collaborative Practice Group
I’ve practiced divorce law for more than forty years. Just go with me here. A useful phrase to employ when consulting with someone in the throes of divorce is “temporary insanity.” Not that these people are certifiable, of course—though that soon to be ex-spouse might have you think otherwise. And that’s part of the issue. The emotional upheaval and sense of loss that surround the process can … [Read more...] about Divorce Options, Attorney Obligations, and the Light at the End of the Tunnel
Collaborative divorce has at its roots the idea of interest-based negotiation. Robert Fisher’s foundational book from 1981, Getting to Yes, sets forth the idea of what he termed “principled negotiation.” The idea is, when a person knows what is a fixed need and what is a flexible need, he or she can enter a negotiation with a clear frame of reference as to what is absolutely necessary, or … [Read more...] about Why Interest-Based Negotiations are a Cornerstone to Collaboration
After thirty plus years of experience—former family law judge, current family law attorney—my grasp of what it means to be a “good lawyer” has evolved. Being a good lawyer can be tricky. In divorce law, in particular, the definition of “good” deserves scrutiny. Emotionally, financially, and legally, divorce is scary. Many clients make life-altering decisions from an unconscious place of fear: … [Read more...] about The Good Lawyer, The Junkyard Dog, and Why Collaborative May Just Be Your Answer
1.) Create new traditions. One spouse is often more despondent about the breakup than the other. During the holidays, the impact of divorce for this spouse can feel a bit like a sledgehammer. He or she may lament the holiday family traditions that will be no longer. Beware of stepping into this pothole by actively creating new holiday traditions. Google “what to do over the holidays in … [Read more...] about The Collaborative Attorney’s Client Guide to Surviving the Holidays
Whether a couple is in the throes of divorce proceedings or contemplating marriage dissolution, holiday months arrive as a potent reminder. Holidays can become occasion for some to look closer: at what they have, what they do not have, and what they stand to lose. If divorce is complicated—and that is usually an understatement—divorce that involves kids can be overwrought with emotional landmines. … [Read more...] about The Gift of Collaboration
A challenging aspect to the collaborative divorce practice is the lack of expertise displayed in numerous attorneys participating in collaborative cases. At this point, any family lawyer can decide to dabble: but if the collaborative case doesn’t settle, the ripple effect greatly damages the overall process. The probability of a case terminating because it cannot reach settlement directly … [Read more...] about Certification Key to Collaborative Success
Collaboration is gaining ground in legal areas aside from family law, and that’s heartening for all who seek a healthier, more successful method of dispute resolution. In the Sept-Oct issue of Dallas CEO Magazine, respected Dallas attorney John G. Browning writes about the benefits of Collaboration, offering an insightful and lucid discussion of the process. Noting that the Collaborative Law … [Read more...] about Collaborative Process for Business, Too
Collaborative Divorce encourages open communication. It creates a chance to begin healing, by talking, with one another and the collaborative team. Granted, it’s ironic, since communication is often a primary area of stress in any marriage. But that’s why the Neutral Mental Health professional is so critical and productive in the Collaborative process. In many cases, the collaborative … [Read more...] about Improve Communications with Collaboration
Collaborative Divorce is truly a team effort. Both spouses have their own Collaborative attorney, as well as counsel from neutral professionals in Mental Health and Financial Planning. Why is the whole team critical to success? Because divorce is more than a single legal transaction. It’s a whole-life change. That means divorcing couples need assistance with three significant needs: emotional, … [Read more...] about Team Approach Provides Tangible Results
Psychological researchers stress the negative effects on children of contentious divorce. It’s no wonder that when parents engage in protracted litigation, the children can’t help but be emotionally disturbed by their parents’ fight. Children of traditional divorce experience these unhappy truths: 1. Parents forget their number one job–being a parent. They become preoccupied with their … [Read more...] about Traditional Divorce & the Issues for Children
Affairs are one of the leading reasons sited for divorce. And while traditional divorce attorneys often tell clients that affairs are not appropriate cases for collaboration, the opposite is actually true. (In fact, a quick poll of the attorneys on this blog roll would confirm that most of their cases involve affairs.) Whether you’re the spouse who’s discovered the affair, or you’re the one who … [Read more...] about Collaborative Law and the Affair
There are lots of lawyers who will tell clients it’s not possible to have a Collaborative Divorce with an active alcoholic or drug user spouse. And although such cases present special challenges, they’re also an opportunity to protect children and actually retain more control over outcomes than litigation produces. Here’s why – 1. Texas law mandates parenting time for with minimum … [Read more...] about The Substance Abusing Spouse & Collaboration
Collaborative Divorce Dallas is a group of Dallas area attorneys and neutral professionals in the areas of Mental Health and Finance. Our goal is to help divorcing families avoid the financial and emotional expense of a painful, protracted public fight. We strive to keep life decisions where they belong – with our clients, not the courts. Collaborative divorce is different from traditional … [Read more...] about Collaborative Divorce – Let the Conversation Begin