October 28, 2015

Are You a Good Fit for Collaborative Divorce?

Categories: Collaborative LawDivorce

200356889-007-woman-and-question-mark-shaped-cloud-gettyimagesThis is an important question. Perhaps you have heard about the new paradigm of collaborative family. How might you know if collaborative law would be a good alternative for you, and how do you know if you would be a candidate for using collaborative law?

We will look at two aspects of this question. This article will address some important threshold questions that determine whether there are considerations that might exclude you from consideration for using this process.

Listed below, are some factors that might disqualify you or your spouse from being accepted into this process. These considerations are examples only, and not intended to provide a complete list of all possible conditions that may apply.

  1. A medical condition, such as dementia, that limits the capacity of a party to understand and comprehend the process;
  2. A history of mental illness that limits the ability to participate in the process;
  3. A criminal history of incarceration for violence;
  4. Untreated chemical or substance abuse;
  5. A history of domestic violence, particularly if there is an order for protection currently on record;
  6. Serious and significant anger issues that have not been addressed in therapy.

A requirement for participation in the collaborative model is that each party, especially a vulnerable party, be safe and secure while working in the process. In order for the collaborative model to be used in the circumstances outlined above proactive steps may need to be taken in order to provide this security.

These circumstances raise red flags that shift the presumption that collaborative law can work, to an assumption that it will not work. They require the affirmative agreement of the collaborative team that reasonable steps are available, and a plan proscribing their use can be put in place.

This plan would consider the willingness of the party who has the impediment to cooperate in creating the plan to address it, and clear guidelines as to what would constitute a breach that would cause the termination of the collaborative process. It would also require the willingness of the other party to agree to the plan and to participate in good faith.

Finally, the professionals participating in such a structured agreement would be charged with a special diligence in monitoring the process.

If you have a situation that contains any of these, or similar, circumstances, contact any collaborative professional and specifically identify the risk posed to see if your case can be accommodated.

The next article will focus on the more common cases that are presumed to be a good candidate for using the collaborative model, will talk about qualities that enhance the ability to participate effectively.

Bruce Peck

Bruce is one of the founding members of the Collaborative Law Institute.
Back in the Wonder Years, this small group was trying to figure out what a new way of practicing family law might look like. Today the collaborative law concept has exploded, not just throughout the United States, but also internationally. For over thirty years Bruce has continued to hone his skills to provide the highest quality of services to family law clients. He helps good people make tough choices during difficult times.

Bruce is a laid back and easy going person who listens well to others. He is a shameless optimist who can always see possibility and opportunity. Being very curious by nature, he is a voracious reader. His love for words has drawn him into being an avid poet.

Bruce’s skills supports clients interests without alienating their spouse. When the parties reach agreement, it is not under duress. They have the time to discuss all decisions with their attorneys before signing the agreement. Once completed, the stipulated divorce is filed with the court for a default hearing in which neither party, nor their attorneys, ever have to set foot inside a courthouse. Learn more at www.BrucePeckLawOffice.com

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