More and more couples are looking for alternatives to the traditional divorce process. They’ve seen the damage that can be done to a family when the couple fights it out in court. It’s a process where there are no winners and unfortunately those impacted the most in a negative way are often the children.
With the collaborative divorce process being a fairly new alternative many are not really sure where to start or how to choose a collaborative divorce lawyer. It is important that anyone considering collaborative divorce choose an attorney who is trained and experienced in collaborative practice.
The following are some tips and recommendations for finding a collaborative attorney in New Jersey.
The lawyer you choose should have training in collaborative divorce. They should have a minimum of basic interdisciplinary collaborative law training. If they’ve been involved with collaborative practice for a number of years they should be regularly attending training and seminars to ensure their skills are up-to-date. Collaborative practice is continually evolving and it’s important that your lawyer be current.
Ask your perspective attorney about their experience in handling collaborative divorce cases. How long have they been practicing and how many collaborative cases have they handled? What was the outcome? How many of those cases were successful in reaching agreements without going to court.
Ask why they practice collaborative divorce? Do their answers seem genuine and do they seem to be passionate about helping families divorce with dignity and respect without going to court? What is their philosophy of practice?
You should also find out if they are a member of a New Jersey collaborative practice group. Any divorce lawyer who is truly committed to collaborative practice will be a member of one of the NJ collaborative practice groups.
The New Jersey collaborative practice groups are:
- Association for the Advancement of Collaborative Practice
- Collaborative Divorce Association of North Jersey
- Collaborative Divorce Professionals
- Jersey Shore Collaborative Law Group
- Mid-Jersey Collaborative Law Alliance
- New Jersey Center for Collaborative Divorce and Mediation
- New Jersey Collaborative Law Group
- South Jersey Collaborative Divorce Professionals
Typically you will want to hire a attorney who is local. If you can’t find a collaborative practice attorney in your county then the next best thing would be a nearby county.
After you have exhausted the above you also want to make sure that you are comfortable with the attorney that you choose.
Do they listen and seem to want to understand your particular circumstances and goals for the future? Your goals are important because collaborative divorce is very much about looking to the future and finding solutions that will take you there.
Do they explain all of your options for getting a divorce or do they try and push you one way or the other without providing reasonable justification?
For more for information on collaborative divorce and for help in finding a trained and experienced collaborative attorney in New Jersey visit the NJ Council of Collaborative Practice Groups.