Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Will the collaborative process work for me?

Answer:
If these values are important to you, then Collaborative practice is likely to be a suitable option:

  • I want to retain a tone of respect, even when we disagree.
  • I want to prioritize the needs of our children.
  • My needs and those of my spouse require equal consideration, and I will listen objectively.
  • I believe that working creatively and cooperatively solves issues.
  • It is important to reach beyond today’s frustration and pain to plan for the future.
  • I can behave ethically towards my spouse.
  • I choose to remain in control of the divorce process with my spouse, and not to relegate it to the courts.
Q. What is the difference between collaborative process and mediation?
Answer:
Both the collaborative process and mediation rely on the voluntary and free exchange of information and a commitment to resolutions that respect the clients' shared goals. In mediation, an impartial third party or mediation team, facilitates the negotiations of the disputing clients and tries to help them settle their case. However, the mediator does not provide legal representation to either client, and cannot be an advocate for either side. The clients in mediation can have their own separate counsel present at the mediation sessions, or consult with counsel between mediation sessions. In the collaborative process, the clients have their attorneys with them during the negotiation sessions. Although there is no mediator present, the collaborative team facilitates a commitment towards settlement.
Q. How does the collaborative process discourage fighting between spouses?
Answer:
Collaborative professionals are trained to help clients deal with their issues and emotions in joint meetings and conference calls. They understand how to help clients express authentic hopes and needs effectively. They ask questions that keep the conversation focused on mutually acceptable workable outcomes. Collaborative professionals also model appropriate behavior; instead of confronting others in the room, they establish an atmosphere of mutual respect and ensure that everyone present sustains the respect throughout the process.
Q. What happens if a settlement is not reached?
Answer:
If the clients cannot reach settlement with the help of their collaborative team, there may be an exploration of whether they may want to try an alternative way to resolve their issues, for example, mediation, neutral experts, arbitration or a private judge. If not, the collaborative team is disbanded, the collaborative attorneys withdraw, and the clients would proceed to obtain litigation attorneys to prepare their case for trial.
Q. Will a settlement be fair?
Answer:
Collaborative practice is designed to empower the clients to fashion agreements that address their unique concerns and produce results more creative than, and superior to, those experienced by clients in the conventional adversarial process. The goal is to enable both spouses to reach a fair and reasonable settlement that addresses and meets the needs of both clients, rather than, for example, the most aggressive client.
Q. What if I want to quit during the middle of the collaborative process?
Answer:
At any time, either spouse may choose to leave the process and pursue litigation. This will require both to find new counsel.
Q. Why might I want a team of people helping me?
Answer:
Collaborative law allows both spouses access to a variety of experts, to help facilitate the best possible outcome for each individual, as well as insuring a healthy future for their children. Mental health professionals act as divorce coaches, smoothing the emotional minefields that are often heavily laden in any divorce. Child specialists give the children a voice in the process, and financial specialists act as neutrals to assess the financial impact of settlement options.
Q. What is the difference between collaborative law and traditional divorce?
Answer:
In a conventional divorce, one spouse files a petition for dissolution in court and sets in motion a series of legal steps, such as pretrial discovery, filing of motions and a pretrial conference. Although the vast majority of cases filed in court eventually are settled by agreement (as opposed to going to trial), Couples going through a conventional divorce generally come to view each other as adversaries, and their divorce as a battleground. The ensuing conflicts can take an immense toll on the emotions of all participants, especially the children. Collaborative law, by definition, is a non-adversarial approach to divorce, not only because the negotiation process takes place without the antagonism of courtroom conflict but also because all negotiations occur collaboratively.
Q. How does the collaborative practice work?
Answer:
Collaborative practice is based on mutual problem solving and interest based negotiations. Each client is represented by their own attorney, both of whom have pledged not to go to court. The divorcing couple works together with a multi-disciplinary team of professionals (individual divorce coaches, a neutral financial specialist and a child specialist). All of whom assist in resolving all the issues in a dissolution, from division of community property, spousal and child support, and shared parenting responsibilities. The collaborative team has an ABSOLUTE COMMITMENT to settlement and is prohibited from entering any court based negotiations, while allowing the divorcing couple to retain the decision making power in all issues addressed. The clients select their collaborative team at the inception of the case, and move through the process in a series of meetings, some of which may include the entire team, but many of which will only involve specific team members, depending on the issues involved. However, if a settlement is not reached and this causes either spouse to seek court intervention, both attorneys must withdraw from representation and the entire team is disbanded.
Q. What is collaborative practice?
Answer:
Collaborative practice is a dispute resolution process that provides an alternative to conventional litigation. Both spouses are represented by counsel, but all agree, in writing, NOT TO GO TO COURT. Both spouses promise to take a reasoned stand on every issue, to keep sharing of documents informal and cooperative, to retain experts jointly, and to negotiate in good faith. Collaborative law relies on an atmosphere of honesty, cooperation, integrity and professionalism geared towards the future well-being of the family.
 

 


(949) 752-2727

"Results, Not Regrets"
 


Jann Glasser LCSW, MFT, Divorce Coach

4340 Campus Drive, Suite 100
Newport Beach, CA 92660