If you’re considering collaborative divorce, you shouldn’t hire just any attorney. That’s because this two-way process, unlike litigation, requires your lawyer to play nice with the other side. Some attorneys lack this necessary experience.
In addition to your lawyer’s aptitude for teamwork, there are several other key qualifications to consider when settling on a professional collaborator.
Check for Minimum Collaborative Professional Requirements
According the Next Generation Divorce, an authority on collaborative divorce, a collaborative professional should be more than just a lawyer. Your attorney should meet the baseline standards for practicing joint divorce before you should even consider him or her. Look for these three qualifications:
- Licensing – Your collaborative professional should be a licensed attorney. Ask for verification of this license. Furthermore, make sure that license is current and that he or she is a reputable lawyer.
- Training – In addition to a general license to practice law, a collaborative attorney will have a minimum 12 hours of collaborative training via a certified program.
- Ethics – Your lawyer’s values should go beyond that of traditional law. A true collaborative attorney will know and abide by the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals’ (IACP) principles. The core values outlined by the IACP provide important ethical insight on issues such as conflicts of interest and scope of advocacy.
Consider a Lawyer’s Practice Style
Get to know your collaborative lawyer. His or her demeanor matters. When it comes to litigation, an aggressive attorney might be ideal; however, in a team setting a warm and open personality will likely make a better facilitator.
In your initial consultation, make note of any outward characteristics – these are the traits that will either drive or delay your divorce. Ultimately, your lawyer should be a problem solver, not a problem starter.
Choose a Collaborator With Relevant Additional Practice Areas
A collaborative law professional often has other areas of expertise. You and your spouse’s goals, as well as the needs of your family overall, will offer insight on the other practice areas you’ll want to consider.
Do you and your partner need to agree on child support terms or a parenting plan? If so, choose a collaborator who also has family law experience.
Look for a Lawyer With Proven Experience Outside the Courtroom
Since collaborative divorce emphasizes open communication in a private setting, both parties agree first to avoid litigation. You’ll want a lawyer who keeps this objective at the front of his or her mind. Look into your collaborative attorney’s settlement track record outside of the courtroom.
Does your lawyer have proven experience in closing agreements without the need for court intervention? An attorney’s past collaborative involvement should show skill for team negotiations.
Are you ready to find the right attorney for your collaborative divorce? Contact Dean G. Tsourakis today to find out more on the advantages of hiring a collaborative divorce attorney and to schedule a free consultation.
Sources:on Aug 5, 2014