How Do I Prepare to Meet With a Collaborative Divorce Lawyer?
If you and your spouse decide to take the collaborative approach to your divorce, you may be wondering, “How do I prepare to meet with a collaborative law attorney?” or “What should I bring? If anything.” After you have scheduled your first meeting, there are important things to consider beforehand.
Things to Consider Before Meeting With a Collaborative Law Attorney
By this point, you have thought about resolving your divorce through the collaborative method. You may have already researched well-trained and experienced collaborative family law attorneys and have called to set up an initial meeting. You are on the right track to resolving your divorce smoothly and expediently.
When you first call our law firm, our trusted legal assistant Susie Simmons will listen intently to your needs and concerns. She will help de-escalate the stress you must be feeling about getting a divorce. Ms. Simmons will then schedule a meeting with Nancy L. Sponseller, our experienced family law attorney. This meeting may be a free 30 minute consultation on the collaborative process only, or it may be a full in-depth, in-office consultation involving your specific facts and circumstances, or both.
Interviewing collaborative lawyers is essential to a successful collaborative divorce.Your initial meeting is not only a way to learn about the collaborative process, but an opportunity to see if the attorney whom you are meeting for the first time is in fact a well-trained and experienced collaborative attorney whom you, your spouse, and your spouse’s collaborative attorney can trust to facilitate the collaborative process.Yes, there are attorneys who may hold themselves out to be collaborative attorneys who have not been trained in the collaborative process and who have no or little collaborative training or experience.You may want to prepare a set of questions to ask before your first visit. If you are selecting the collaborative divorce process, it is important that the attorney you are considering retaining actually believe in the collaborative divorce process and the benefits of this process for you. Some key questions you may want to ask are:
- What alternative processes to ending my marriage are there, and what are the possible advantages and disadvantages of each?
- How many collaborative cases have you handled since you first started handling collaborative cases?
- What is the extent of your collaborative law training–e.g., how many seminars have you attended since you became interested in collaborative law? When was the most recent one and what was it about?
- Are you a member of any collaborative family law practice association? If so, which one(s)?
- Have you handled any collaborative case where a financial neutral professional was involved? What is the benefit of involving a financial neutral?
- Have you handled any collaborative case where a coach/mental health professional or child/parenting expert was involved? What is the benefit of involving a coach/mental health professional and child/parenting expert?
- How can we persuade my spouse to consider the collaborative process?
Before your first meeting, you will also want to summarize your circumstances and your finances. This does not need to be detailed, but it is to your benefit if you have something to give the attorney so he or she knows what is generally involved in your case and what your goals may be. Initial consultations will be most helpful to you if you give the attorney the basics of what you believe may be involved in your case as well as your concerns.
Certified Family Relations Specialist
Attorney Sponseller is a certified specialist in family relations law by the Ohio State Bar Association. She is a founding member of the Central Ohio Academy of Collaborative Divorce Professionals, emphasizing negotiation as a means of producing “win-win” solutions. The best way to contact attorney Sponseller is by calling or emailing our law office to set up an appointment.
Providing You Valuable Legal Advice
We encourage you to contact our Columbus law firm at 614-764-0423. Our legal assistant will schedule a free 30 minute initial appointment with our experienced collaborative divorce lawyer to discuss the collaborative process.