How to Introduce the Concept of Collaborative Divorce to Your Spouse
What is Collaborative Divorce? When I introduce the option to potential clients, they have almost never heard of the concept UNLESS they were referred by someone who had utilized the Collaborative Divorce Process to resolve their matter.
The lack of inherent knowledge about the concept creates a big hurdle in getting the client on board—but the bigger obstacle, once your client is convinced to pursue this option, is getting their spouse to sign on.
The problem is nor insurmountable, but it is a challenge.
First—if the other spouse has already consulted with a litigation focused attorney (or were given a referral to such an attorney), they are going to be less inclined to meet with another attorney. Further, should they then approach this litigation attorney about Collaborative Divorce, that attorney will certainly seek to dissuade them and focus on the “negatives” of the process (out of the attorney’s self-interest, not out of duty to the client).
Second—how you introduce the concept to the spouse is difficult.
The initial decision is to determine who will introduce the option, either the attorney or the client. The obvious concern with having the attorney introduce the idea (while also providing a list of collaboratively trained attorneys for the spouse to consider consulting with) is that the spouse may be skeptical of having the “other attorney” recommending attorneys for her.
The other consideration is to determine how you want them to obtain additional information—as they can consult with an attorney OR you can recommend a Process Consult. Either option works (as they will ultimately consult with an attorney anyway) so the important thing is to be certain that the spouse is able to voluntarily and comfortably make the decision that is right for them.
The key in considering the above is that while getting both spouses on board is a challenge, it is not an insurmountable challenge. In fact, I remain steadfastly convinced that in a majority of circumstances once both spouses are appropriately introduced to the Collaborative Divorce Process they will commit to same—the cost savings, efficient process, and family first focus is simply too good
Check in next week to learn more about The Process Consult as a means to introducing the Collaborative Divorce Process to couples.