How are Collaborative Divorce Attorneys Different?

Jan 1, 2013

Frequently, people think of all divorce attorneys as being the same.  Most people assume that we all do the same thing, the same way.  In fact, most people I come across assume that all divorce attorneys are out for blood and live to take everything we possibly can (kids, money, houses, hope, joy, the will to carry on, the right to breathe, etc…) away from the other spouse so that our client can have it.  

I’ve met some of those attorneys.  Their mentality is designed to fit a divorce in court where fighting is the way to a resolution. But, luckily for families that are looking at the very real possibility of a divorce, not all attorneys fit this bill. 

Here are some important ways that Collaborative Divorce attorneys are similar to traditional divorce attorneys:

  • They have all graduated from the same law schools and passed the same Bar Exams
  • They all have the same license to practice law
  • They are familiar with the statutes and case decisions that may influence your case
  • Most currently do, or have practiced in traditional divorce cases prior to adopting the Collaborative Divorce negotiation process
  • They can draft Separation Agreements, Consent Orders and other documents necessary to formalize a divorce agreement
  • They can represent you in getting an actual divorce judgment from the court

But, obviously, there are differences.  So, here are some of the most important ones:

  • Collaborative attorneys are specially trained to administer and carry out the Collaborative Divorce negotiation process
  • Collaborative attorneys are trained to both listen and communicate differently than traditional attorneys
  • Collaborative Divorce attorneys are specifically trained to work with mental health professionals and financial neutrals to create the optimal divorce resolution for each individual family
  • Collaborative attorneys are specially trained to identify and manage (but not treat) the emotional issues in a divorce, instead of ignoring them or making them worse
  • Collaborative Divorce attorneys, by law in North Carolina, cannot go to court with you once you have begun the Collaborative Divorce Process (except for obtaining an actual divorce judgment).
  • Collaborative Divorce attorneys believe that the best way to get their client what they need is to also work towards getting their client’s spouse what that spouse needs
  • Collaborative attorneys will not threaten, leverage, coerce or demean your spouse or their attorney
  • Collaborative Divorce attorneys do not look for “evidence” to “nail somebody to the wall”; they look for data to help clients make informed decisions
  • Collaborative attorneys work with an eye toward preserving the family’s financial resources in the divorce, not just one person’s
  • Collaborative attorneys work with the goal of preserving the family’s ability to function effectively after the divorce, especially when children are involved

There are other important differences between traditional divorce attorneys and Collaborative Divorce attorneys.  But, these lists should give you a good summary of how working with a Collaborative Divorce attorney is different than working with a traditional divorce attorney 

If you want to learn more about the differences between Collaborative Divorce and a traditional divorce, contact me or call me at 919-573-4860.  

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