My wife is interested in Collaborative Practice. We’ve never collaborated terribly well in our marriage. Will it work for us?
Collaborative Practice is a relatively new form of alternate dispute resolution. According to Sandra Rosenbloom, a family law attorney, divorce mediator, and collaborative law practitioner in Northfield, one of the most important aspects of the approach is the opportunity to keep the decision-making about your future, your wife’s future, and your family’s future in your own hands. “You don’t have to relinquish control to judges, court-appointed experts, or even your own attorneys,” she says. “After all, who knows more than you about you and your family?” Each party begins by retaining a collaboratively trained lawyer. From the outset, all of the parties agree in writing not to go to court. You and your spouse will meet privately with your lawyers as well as together in face-to-face discussions. Additional experts, such as divorce coaches and child and financial specialists, may join the process as part of your Collaborative team. During your sessions together, information can be exchanged and both of you will have a safe place to express your needs and expectations from t he process; your lawyer will remain your ally and advisor. Collaborative Practice is especially sensitive to the needs of children. Together, you and your wife would work respectfully together to create a final divorce agreement. Can this be done when you haven’t had a great track record in terms of communicating with one another in the past? Absolutely! “The privacy of the Collaborative approach, and the confidence that both you and your wife will have by knowing that you both retain control over your future, should be a strong motivator for you both to actively and wholeheartedly participate in the Collaborative approach to divorce,” says Rosenbloom. In many cases, couples report that they actually learn important communication skills through the Collaborative process that help them better deal with one another as they co-parent their children. “For a more in-depth explanation of the Collaborative process, check out the many fine books that have recently been written and directed to the public, such as Pauline Tesler’s and Peggy Thompson’s recently published Collaborative Divorce, adds Rosenbloom.
Sandra M Rosenbloom concentrates on Mediation and Collaborative Family Law at her Northfield, IL office.