Law school prepares one to be a litigation gladiator in an adversarial environment. Litigation may be the only answer for some people getting divorced, but it is not the right answer or the right fit for many. Some divorcing couples value protecting their children from the wounds typically caused by the litigation battle. Other divorcing couples embrace the idea of concluding their marriage in a dignified respectful manner. Other couples prefer to invest their resources in planning for a secure future for each individual instead of investing their resources in a destructive battle. And other couples wish to ensure that their financial and business matters stay private between them. For all of these couples, hiring a collaborative divorce attorney is likely the right choice.
But how do you know if you have hired an attorney who is genuinely prepared to guide you through a collaborative divorce process? It is probably unwise to simply rely upon an attorney’s claim that she/he can do a collaborative divorce.
Ask when the attorney received her/his first collaborative training. Then ask about the number of collaborative trainings she/he has received since then.
Ask whether she/he belongs to any professional group for collaborative professionals only. Then ask about how one becomes a member of the group – does it require simply the payment of dues or does one have to meet some collaborative professional standards?
Finally, consider asking the attorney what efforts she/he has undertaken to advance the use of collaborative divorce in the local and statewide communities.
Remember, law school does not incubate collaborative divorce lawyers. A lawyer must foster a collaborative mindset and dedicate her/himself to genuinely be a collaborative divorce lawyer.
BRIAN URBAN & BRIDGETTE POZZUTO
Cleveland’s Collaborative Divorce Attorneys