It takes two (2) people to have a Collaborative Divorce. Both parties need to hire collaboratively trained attorneys. If you decide to pursue the Collaborative Process to divorce, how can you get your spouse to agree?
First and foremost share information with your spouse. I recommend a book entitled “The Collaborative Way to Divorce”, by Stuart G. Webb and Ronald D. Ousky. The book discusses the entire collaborative process and is an easy read. Also, the website for the National Organization for Collaborative Practice (IACP) is www.collaborativepractice.com. State website as well as the local practice group sites have lots of informational videos and material you can download. The names of the Collaborative professionals in your area are also listed on these sites. A website for professionals serving Monmouth, Ocean and Middlesex Counties is www.njcollaborativeprofessionals.com. The New Jersey Council of Collaborative Practice Groups lists collaborative professionals throughout the State of New Jersey. Their website is http://www.collaboratenj.org/.
It makes sense for you and your spouse to research attorneys in your area together to find out which attorneys are collaboratively trained. Both you and your spouse should interview attorneys. In Monmouth County where Collaborative Law started over ten (10) years ago, there are many Collaborative attorneys to choose from.
When you narrow your search, look at the attorneys’ website. Do they have information related to Collaborative Law? Look at the attorney profiles, are they collaboratively trained? Do they belong to a Collaborative Practice Group? Are they listed on the N.J. Council of Collaborative Practice Group website?
Does the attorney have family law experience? Does the attorney have experience and training in Collaborative Law? Does the attorney have experience and training in Mediation. If your spouse has hired an attorney, ask the person you are interviewing if he or she knows your spouse’s attorney and ask whether they have worked together.
Couples can go out and interview attorneys together if they want to ultimately decide, as a couple, not only whom to hire but which attorney will work with which client. This type of initial consultation is called a “process consultation”.
You need to feel comfortable with the attorney you hire. You want to ensure that your attorney respects your decision to pursue a Collaborative Divorce, knows what your goals are and what outcome you hope to achieve and will be available for you throughout the entire divorce process.