In our last post, we talked about how collaborative divorce (in general) could help divorcees by eliminating some of the extenuating costs, time and emotional upheaval experienced with traditional divorces. Through this post, we will explore the role of the lawyer in the collaborative process.
Unlike the adversarial approach in traditional divorces, an attorney is more of an educator and facilitator within collaborative divorce. Their responsibilities are explained within the following terms:
Maintain positive discussions – Attorneys must help clients understand that cooperative conflict is a method of problem solving, they will guide clients through disagreements. As such, they will promote mutual respect, which includes respectful communication and listening, in order to reach amicable solutions.
Promote full disclosure – The collaborative process works when both parties commit to providing all necessary documents. In this regard, lawyers promote honest and complete discovery and help clients gather all necessary documents to complete disclosures.
Protect the collaborative process – Attorneys help clients understand that adversarial tactics are not helpful to the process, and maintain stability in emotionally charged situations. They also identify other professionals who can help facilitate discussions (e.g. mediators, parenting specialists) and identify solutions.
Educate and analyze – They identify potential legal issues and advise the client of their rights and options, but must do so in a way that promotes solutions. They also help in drafting documents that both parties can understand and help avoid the common legal jargon that troubles some negotiations.
If you believe the collaborative process is right for you, an attorney can help.
Source: CollaborativeDivorce.net, Lawyer’s role in collaborative divorce