Inasmuch as divorce is a legal process, each client will need to have – and is free to choose – his or her own Collaborative Attorney. Attorneys who are qualified members of Collaborative Practice groups have committed to ongoing training and standards. These professionals are the most likely to follow a shared model for Collaborative representation and to have made the effort to become trained as effective Collaborative Attorneys.
Research has shown that one of the best predictors of a constructive divorce process and successful outcome is the selection by divorcing spouses of two attorneys who respect one another and have a history of working together effectively to help clients reach creative, respectful solutions. Anyone selecting a Collaborative Attorney should investigate and choose carefully. Below is a list of questions to ask before you hire your professional.
There are many Attorneys in the Cleveland Area who offer collaborative services. Before choosing one, make sure you fully learn about the legal professional’s collaborative experience and number of collaborative trainings. The website for the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, www.CollaborativePractice.com, sets forth its standards for Collaborative Practice excellence.
Choosing Other Collaborative Professionals
If you (like most individuals) are putting together your team with your Collaborative Attorneys’ help, much of what is said above about Collaborative Attorneys is also true of the other members of your team. You may have found the Collaborative Practice model by first interviewing someone who acts as a Neutral Financial Professional or as a Coach or Child Specialist, in which case the formation of your team has already started. Be sure that all of your team members are qualified members of a Collaborative Practice group and that each of them is experienced, trained, and committed to the Collaborative Practice model.
Questions to ask before you hire your Collaborative Professional:
- Have you been certified as a family law specialist? How long have you practiced? (Attorney)
- Are you a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or Certified Financial Planner (CFP) as well as certified as a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA)? (Neutral Financial Professional)
- Do you have a specialization in divorce, family systems theory, and child development? (Coach or Child Specialist)
- What training and how many hours of training have you received in Collaborative Practice/Divorce and in mediation?
- How long have you been practicing Collaborative Practice/Divorce?
- Have many Collaborative cases have you done?
- Have you worked in a Collaborative Practice model with my spouse’s attorney in the past? If so, how successfully?
- Have you worked in a Collaborative Practice model with my spouse’s other Collaborative professionals in the past? If so, how successfully?
- Are you a member of a local Collaborative Practice group? If so, which one?
- Are you a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP)?
- What happens when you step aside if my spouse or I should decide to litigate?