When you hear about some new idea that someone urges you to try out, one of your first questions may be, “Will it Work?”. We don't want to waste time and money on something that doesn't stand a chance of working.
It may not work.
Anyone telling you about Collaborative Law will have to admit that there is a chance that the process won't work in some cases. Sometimes it's because of the parties involved, other times it's the whole context of how the matter is happening. Many times it can be because of outside forces, such as pressure from family members, time constraints or work issues. It can also make a difference it you choose to work with experienced versus inexperienced professionals.
Failure is rare.
The down side is that if the process is unsuccessful, the professionals have to withdraw and the there's added costs for the parties in getting new attorneys. The good news is that failure is rare. Here are some common circumstances which sometimes unnecessarily scare people away from using Collaborative Law.
1. One or both parties are mad. Actually, that's not unusual. These are divorces after all. When we work with a full team, including the neutral mental health professional, communication improves greatly. People end up working together much better because they are surrounded by trained professionals who help them learn better communication skills. That's an extra benefit of using the Collaborative process.
2. One doesn't trust the other party. That's pretty normal when people get divorced. Again, trust is managed and greatly improved with the involvement of the neutral mental health professional, the neutral financial professional and two lawyers, all watching over everything. Part of the Participation Agreement everyone signs at the outset is an agreement to be open and honest. We all also agree to correct any mistakes anyone finds. This is about the most protected people can be in a negotiating process.
3. Someone believes the other party can “out-negotiate” them. We have had a few cases where this was a concern to our client. Both men and women sometimes have that fear, but it has never been a problem for us because of having the team working together. Plus, we negotiate differently. We don't use car-buying tactics. We start by getting both parties to tell us their real goals, interests and needs. The negotiations focus on meeting the goals for both parties, rather than creating a “win-lose” scenario in which only one party is satisfied.
If you have any of these concerns, please talk with your attorney. If you are meeting with a trained, experienced Collaborative attorney, your questions will be answered and your concerns laid to rest. While these are common issues, you really should have no problem entering into the process under these circumstances.