Divorcing through collaborative law
Collaborative law is a relatively new process, which is kind of amazing to those of us who’ve been litigating in the courtroom, especially in the family law realm. Collaborative law is a way for divorcing couples to stay out of the courtroom, and to sit down in a very safe and structured environment, and work through all of the issues. We have to retrain the lawyers completely to get out of that adversarial mode, and that directive mode saying, “This is how things should be, and this is what I know, and by gosh do it, because that’s what you hired me for,” and into the facilitation mode, which says, “You’re going to direct this process. We’re going to give you the structure and the resources to do it.” So first, you’ve really got to have a trained lawyer. And it takes time to get out of that, to put on that different hat. It’s a very unique thing for us to facilitate communication, to do active listening, where we are sitting across from the opposing counsel and saying, “I understand that what you’re saying is …” And even in this case, sometimes the attorney gets to sit across from the opposing client, and say, “Tell me more about that,” which we couldn’t do in another setting.