How to Choose a Collaborative Professional
Inasmuch as divorce is a legal process, each client will need to have – and is free to choose – his or her own Collaborative Attorney. Attorneys who are qualified members of Collaborative Practice groups have committed to ongoing training and standards. These professionals are the most likely to follow a shared model for Collaborative representation, and to have made the effort to become trained as effective Collaborative Attorneys.
Research has shown that one of the best predictors of a good divorce process and outcome is the selection by divorcing spouses of two attorneys who respect one another and have a good track record of settling cases together, working together effectively to help clients reach creative, respectful solutions. Anyone selecting Collaborative counsel should investigate and choose carefully.
Choosing Other Collaborative Professionals
You may have found the Collaborative Practice model by first interviewing a Mental Health Professional or a Neutral Financial Professional, in which case the formation of your team has already started.
Or, if you are looking to begin the process by meeting first with a Mental Health Professional or a Neutral Financial Professional to form your team, or if you are putting together your team with your Attorneys’ help, much of what is said above about Collaborative Attorneys is also true of the other members of your team. Be sure that all of your team members are qualified members of a Collaborative Practice group, and that each of them is experienced, trained, and committed to the model.
Questions to ask before you hire your Collaborative Professional:
- Do you specialize in family law, and how long have you practiced? (Attorney)
- Are you a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or Certified Financial Planner (CFP) as well as certified as a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA)? (Neutral Financial Professional)
- Do you have a specialization in divorce and child development? (Mental Health Professional)
- What training have you received in Collaborative Practice/Divorce and in mediation?
- How long have you been practicing Collaborative Practice/Divorce?
- Have many Collaborative cases have you done?
- Have you worked in a Collaborative Practice model with my spouse’s attorney in the past, and if so, how successfully?
- Have you worked in a Collaborative Practice model with my spouse’s other Collaborative professionals in the past, and if so, how successfully?
- Are you a member of a local Collaborative Practice group, and if so, which one?
- Are you a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP)?
- What happens when you step aside if my spouse or I should decide to litigate?
You may wish to download and print these questions: