May 29, 2013

Penny Pinching

Categories: Collaborative LawDivorce

Find a penny, pick it up.No divorce comes without a price. By choosing a Collaborative Divorce, you’ve taken the first step toward getting the most value for the costs you incurred. To help you further maximize the value you’ll receive, here are three more tips.

Be prepared. If you do nothing else, take the time to do your homework and be prepared for every meeting. Remember to bring the relevant documents to each meeting and be prompt for all appointments. A three ring binder can help you keep everything organized. You will want to track: your macro goals, summaries of the joint meetings you’ve had with your team, your financial and cash flow reports, all correspondence with your team, copies of all the documents you sign, the various versions of parenting and relational plans you develop, etc. Keeping all documents, plans, and correspondence in chronological order (most recent on top) will make it easier to track changes.

Be complete and candid. Don’t be stingy with information. A cost effective divorce starts with you being completely candid (yes, that includes the trivial, the embarrassing and the seemingly unimportant) with your attorney and continues with you providing each team member with all the information they ask for. You’ll find that it is hard for your team to help you craft an optimal result if they are working from less than complete information. Think of it this way – if you were to go to your doctor complaining about chronic headaches, your doctor might suggest tests to rule out everything from cancer to migraines, but if you were to mention that, in addition to the headaches, the print in books, newspapers, and on your iPad seemed fuzzier than usual, your doctor may recommend a simple eye test and perhaps a new pair of glasses.

Remember to H.A.L.T. If you are feeling hungry, angry, lonely, or tired you are not going to be operating at your best and your higher self is on the way to clocking out for the day.

Don’t head into joint meetings on an empty tank. It takes fuel to run at peak efficiency, so don’t let that blood sugar drop – have a light meal before each meeting and don’t be shy about snacking a bit during as well.

Joint meetings can be places where your hot buttons might just get pushed. If you find that you are experiencing negative emotions (anger) during a meeting, take a break, talk with your Coach and your Attorney and see if you can get back in touch with your higher self – if you can’t, ask to continue the meeting at another time.

It is natural to feel a bit lonely during a divorce, but the last thing you want to do is reach that point where it starts to impact your decision-making. So be sure to take some time to intentionally connect with family and friends; it is all right to take some time to be social. You are going to be far more efficient if you are working with a support system rather than in isolation. Keep your Coach in the loop; she or he can provide you with a variety of tools – including recommending a therapist – if you think you could use a little more help.

A lack of sleep can have a profound effect on behavior and decision-making (how many times have you heard a parent diagnose their child’s current melt-down as “oh, she’s just overly tired”). So, do yourself a favor, try to get a good night’s sleep the night (or at least take a nap) before a meeting. You’ll make better decisions and get more done walking in refreshed and alert.


Bruce Cameron
Attorney, Cameron Law, PLLC

Bruce Cameron, JD, MS is a second career attorney, practicing Quaker, and advocate for small town law practices. His solo practice focuses exclusively on collaborative law and mediation with just a soupçon of estate planning for excitement. Bruce believes that alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, like collaborative law and mediation, are powerful positive means to reduce the destructive conflict typical of litigation. He has found that a little peacemaking tends to produce better outcomes for his clients. Learn more at

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