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Testimonial: The Collaborative Approach

1 September 2008 23,849 views No Comment

The following is a testimonial of one party to a divorce who chose to resolve divorce, property and child related issues by the collaborative process with two lawyers trained and experienced to assist spouses who choose the collaborative divorce process.

“I like everything about how my case was handled – by BOTH lawyers.”

“I believe that every divorcing couple should have to try the collaborative process before resorting to traditional adversarial divorce. I believe that the divorcing couple should have to attend – together – a class that explains in detail the effect of divorce on their children (if they have any), and emphasizes the steps parents can take to minimize the impact.”

“We both wanted out of the marriage, but we didn’t want our children to “pay” for our mistakes. The process also allowed my ex and I to remain focused on this goal, rather than being focused on “getting” the other person.”

“Once we started working together to craft a solution we both thought was fair, we had incentive to work together – giving and taking – to reach a truly fair outcome. We allowed our children (because it was age-appropriate to do so) to have input on issues that concerned them. This was comforting to them. I believe that we set a good example for them by being parents who worked together to cause them the least amount of emotional impact as possible during and after our divorce. They have both thanked me for how we handled the divorce, and for us preserving our friendship through the process.”

“Before we worried about division of assets, we did a “current” budget together and a projected future budget for our separate lives. When we finally turned our focus to division of assets, we had a much better picture of each other’s future needs. We then had the flexibility to move all or part of each asset into one of our columns based on who would need access to what types of assets in the near and far term.”

Since our children were older, the standard custody agreement did not fit the needs of our kids. With collaborative divorce we were able to write our own child custody agreement, and back it up with a more “standard” agreement that applied only if we were unable to agree. Our younger child’s interests were put ahead of our individual interests, while maintaining an agreement that both parents are important in his life. We weren’t forced to live with standard rules that would have been very uncomfortable for our youngest and awkward for us.”   

“I was concerned that all of the 4-ways (Meetings with both lawyers and both clients present) would cost many hours of lawyers fees without producing a large number of resolved issues. After the first meeting, I was still concerned about the issue of cost of all that time spent with 2 lawyers while working out everything necessary. After the second meeting, I was no longer concerned. Our lawyers made sure that each meeting produced significant results and significant movement on issues important to both me and my ex-spouse. I was also pleased that we used a collaborative divorce financial planner, who cost less per hour and who knew how to help us evaluate our assets and creatively pursue division of assets (as well as current and projected monthly expenses for both spouses) to meet our needs and goals.”

“The common theme in all of my points is that we were able to create a custom solution for our specific family’s needs. We were partners in creating a solution, not individuals forced to live with a statutory “cookie cutter” plan for divorce where everyone seems to lose.”  

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