Collaborative Divorce is about helping our clients resolve their problems and about addressing issues in a way that will best equip them as they move forward into their futures. We invite them to practice mindfulness as they do this. We ask that they work through the stress and emotions of the moment by paying attention to their thoughts and feelings and expressing them in goals and interests instead of dwelling in the past.
Amid these expectations we, as professionals, need to be mindful of our obligation to also be present in the moment. It is our responsibility to commit our focus to our clients and their collaborative process. How can we do this in a better way? It is as easy as giving the clients and the process the respect and attention both deserve, and the process requires. This can be accomplished through simple things like proper preparation with clients instead of last-minute huddling just before the start of a joint session. We can try not to overschedule ourselves with other Collaborative meetings or other client matters. We could refrain from scheduling court appearances or depositions on the same day as a collaborative meeting. We could avoid scheduling a joint meeting when under a major deadline (personal or professional). We should always allow enough time for pre-meeting and debrief with the professional team, so we do not have to rush out the door to address another case the instant the joint session adjourns. If possible, we should not calendar meetings one right after the other. It helps to allow ample separation in your day to refresh and refocus. Above all, be prepared, be punctual, avoid looking at your phone (or Apple watch) and do not address other cases while in a joint session. Do not spend too much time “swapping personal moments” with others on the team. The parties have made the decision to enter our respectful process. We need to be respectful of them and their process.