One of the most important jobs we have as collaborative law attorneys is providing information and options to our clients so that they are able to make informed decisions. Knowledge allows people to make the best decisions for their future and their family’s future. Beginning with the initial consultation, collaborative law attorneys have the opportunity to advise clients regarding the law, the process and options. Attorneys also need to take the time to listen to the goals of the client in the initial consultation and throughout the process.
Not only are the attorneys involved with assisting the clients, a neutral mental health professional facilitates open communication and skills for moving into the future. Further, the neutral mental health professional ensures the goals of each participant are addressed. Discussing present goals and goals for the future, whether that be financial or for the children, is essential to making decisions.
The collaborative law process offers the additional benefit of transparency between the parties. Transparency allows each person in the collaborative process to make their decisions with better knowledge of the facts. Specifically, transparency in the collaborative law setting enables the parties to have a better understanding of the assets and debts.
As well, a neutral financial professional can be involved in the process to assist with understanding the financial decisions to be made, a possible division of the estate, and preparing for the future. Budgets should also be created with the client to promote informed decision making. Preparing a budget with the client can offer the best insight into the finances for the client’s future.
Moreover, the collaborative process is client driven. The objective of the collaborative process is to have an agreement between the parties for assets, debts and the children. The final decisions must be agreed upon in the collaborative setting. Since the court does not intervene in collaborative law cases, the decisions are made by agreement between the clients. As attorneys, our duty is to advise the client but the client ultimately makes the decisions.
In a collaborative divorce, people have the opportunity to make the best-informed decisions to control their own future.