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What Are The Approaches That Set Your Firm Apart In Guiding Your Clients Through The Divorce Process In Maryland And DC?

So the main differences that sets me apart are that I’m going to take the time to work with clients and let’s just take it in a mediation context that understanding and listening to each other is one thing.  Working with both a husband/wife, mom & dad, to begin to listen to one another in the face of years of conflict, years of recognizing that things were beginning to fall apart, that’s a whole other challenge.  And so what sets me apart is creating a safe place, creating an atmosphere where direct communication could happen but it’s occurring in context to a schedule and approach that if the first thing, for example, that needs to be covered is a parenting plan and you know that’s going to set the rest of the process in place. So the collaborative process is a formal process where I, as your collaborative lawyer, am committing to resolve the differences and work through to a final marital separation agreement with your spouse, working along with other professionals and my attorney counterpart and I are both waiving our right to litigate the case if we’re not able to settle it.

In other words, I’m making an all-out commitment that we’re going to settle the case working together with your spouse’s attorney but it also includes, as part of this collaborative process, other professionals as needed.  I have a team that I work with of parenting coaches who, as therapists, help with the parenting plan and help navigate some of those difficult turns.  I have financial planners, they could be accountants or they could be just certified financial planners, who could help review the asset lists and go through them, if it’s complicated in terms of tracing assets and so forth.  I have a mortgage broker, who can help with the sale and/or purchase of property.  Resolution Matter brings a whole team approach to working through the collaborative process.

I think it’s particularly appropriate where there may be a slight imbalance in understanding or intellectual knowledge of the finances or the assets or just even an emotional imbalance of some sort where one partner may have certain level of influence over the other and the other doesn’t feel quite as secured.  But with two attorneys, each representing the spouses, that balance can be brought about.

What Are The Major Benefits To Using The Collaborative Process For Divorce Or Other Family Matters?

The main benefit of the collaborative process is that each individual spouse feels that they have been taken care of and the totality of the circumstances is being looked at from a number of different professional perspectives. What you wind up with is an integrated approach to a final marital separation agreement.  The collaborative process is not piecemeal, it is well thought out  from a number of different angles, from the parenting plan, bringing a psychological therapeutic approach;  to the asset and property distribution with or without financial experts. In the collaborative process the lawyers were have a unique role in ensuring the parties feel empowered, feel that they were heard, felt that they really are truly ready to start this new life of theirs.

Is Collaborative Divorce Process Right For Everyone?

The collaborative divorce process can be modified and it could be made into different hybrid approaches.  So for example, I may work with one parenting coach who is a mediator — just to make one important distinction here.  All the professionals working as part of the collaborative divorce process are all trained as mediators.  So, if we’re working with a parenting coach, I may suggest that we work with a single coach who can mediate a parenting plan.  If for certain reasons, the finances were an issue and they didn’t want to spend the money on two coaches, that’s one option.  The other option is that sometimes if I’m mediating a case, I may use a collaborative parenting coach to help if there’s a fair amount of emotional issues that are coming into play in the case.  So that’s just another kind of hybrid.  And there’s really no limit to the number of different combinations we could come up with.  It may not fit the standard definition of what a collaborative divorce is but the spirit and the intent of getting the team of people working together for the benefit of mom and dad and husband and wife is very apparent that way.

Is The Collaborative Approach The Same As Mediation When Handling Divorce Or Other Family Matters?

No, there’s definite differences in the collaborative approach.  As I suggest that when each side, when the husband and wife each have their own attorney, yes, in mediation, they can each have their own attorney but their attorneys will not be present, in most cases, with the mediator.  But in the collaborative approach when there’s discussions/negotiations going on, the attorneys are present with their client.  In mediation, it could just be the mediator and the clients.  So that’s a fundamental, if you could just see that it’s just essentially a triangle in the mediation where the mediator’s at one point and then the parties were at the other points, and in the collaborative, it’s more of a rectangle where each attorney and their client are at the table.

For more information on Family Law In Maryland, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (301) 760-7999 today.

Steve Shapiro, Esq.

Contact Our Office For Further Details
(301) 760-7999