Lawyer’s Role in Collaborative Divorce

The collaborative divorce, the lawyer is not neutral. The collaborative divorce lawyer acts as a resource, an educator, an advocate for his or her client and protector of the collaborative divorce process.

The collaborative divorce lawyer must do the usual determination, identification and investigation of the issues surrounding the situation. The lawyer must also anticipate conflict, manage the process and ensure that the client is aware of the legal rights and obligations at play.

A paper presented at the 1998 Annual Conference of the Academy of Family Mediators summarized the roles and responsibilities of collaborative divorce lawyers:

* advise their respective clients of the law which applies to their circumstances;

* promote and exhibit honestly, mutual respect and dignified behaviour;

* guide clients through a process of cooperative conflict by employing disagreement as a way to achieve creative solutions to problems;

* get to know their clients and establish a rapport with a parties involved in the process;

* foster respectful communication and listening skills for all parties in order to promote the interest of both sides;

* identify the issues and concerns of all parties;

* foster stability, reason and reality in emotionally charged situations;

* cooperate with one another and provide all necessary disclosure and discovery;

* assist the client in organizing disclosure documentation and in understanding the disclosure documentation from the other side;

* assist in analyzing the consequences of competing values and possible choices;

* respect the choices made by the client even if they are different from what the law may offer;

* employ clear and neutral language in both written and verbal communication;

* understand that court is not an option and refrain from employing adversarial tactics and techniques; and

* remain committed to finding effective ways to assist the parties in reaching agreement and overcoming impasses by using mediation and neutral experts to provide a third opinion.

The lawyers are there as a reassurance to the other person that you are trying to solve your issues the best way you know how; and that you are doing it honestly.

The lawyers know all the laws and rules involving a divorce, they can help with the legal terms; make suggestions that you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise, give you information and help you communicate better with your spouse. Because even they are representing you, trying to get you the good deal, at the same time they want to solve the case. And by helping you understand what is to be done, everything runs along more smoothly, because there is no confusion between the parties.

They are also there to help you keep what is really important in mind. The whole reason collaborative divorce was set up was because lawyers were tired of seeing spouse arguing over pets and furniture – as though they were worth thousands upon thousands of dollars. The main focus with collaborative law is keeping the peace between husband and wife after the ordeal. Its focus is to see that the children aren’t affected by it in a bad way for the remainder of their lives. The lawyers are there to help you keep that perspective, because sometimes it can be lost on a bad day.

With your collaborative divorce lawyers it is easier to come to an agreement knowing that you best interest is in mind. That each side has a lawyer backing them, and at the same time knowing that everyone is working towards one common goal-divorce is a hard thing, and should no have to be done over months in court. Collaborative divorce lawyers are saving you money by not taking you through the hassle the court has. Collaborative divorce lawyers are your counselors for a painless divorce.