Happy May, Collaborative friends! It’s beyond hard to believe that summer is fast approaching. I feel like I just wrote my January letter to you. But here we are.
I have a new challenge for you. You probably don’t realize this, but my time as the President of the Board of Trustees of Collaborative Divorce Texas is coming to an end as quickly as summer is approaching. So I’ve saved one of my best challenges for last. And not to alienate our extremely important and valuable Collaborative Neutrals, but this one is really aimed primarily at our attorney members (although I hope everyone will accept the challenge). Here it is:
Talk to a Family Litigation Attorney and Be a Myth Buster
There are lots of myths that persist about the Collaborative process. But I am going to ask you to tackle the ones I hear most often. Feel free to tackle additional ones you can think of.
Myth #1: You can’t be a zealous advocate when you are in a Collaborative process.
That’s just FALSE. I would argue that representing clients in the Collaborative process makes you more of a “zealous advocate” than in a litigation process. In a litigation process, our clients can be much more myopic. They see positions, what they want; not what they need or what might be best for them. In Collaborative, we have the opportunity to educate our clients about numerous possible outcomes because we’re not bound by the legal box that a judge is bound by. We are bound only by our own creativity in assisting clients to achieve their needs. That’s what I call zealous advocacy.
Myth #2: You can’t make enough money with only Collaborative cases in your practice.
Again, NOT TRUE. If more family law attorneys focused their efforts on attracting Collaborative cases, more people in the general public would learn about it and seek it out. Lawyers are so afraid of letting go of their litigation cases that they create a self-fulfilling prophecy. Remember, the far majority of cases settle. Why not use a process that empowers clients and helps them to be better post-divorce co-parents? Ask yourself: Who is the litigation for? Is it for the clients or for the attorneys?
Myth #3: Collaborative is only for clients with minor children.
WRONG. The Collaborative process is for anyone wishing to (a) resolve their divorce without the combativeness of litigation, and (b) preserve post-divorce relationships. Although not all, most couples have children; some are minor children and some are adult children. Regardless of the age, at some point, there will be graduations, weddings, births, and birthday parties to attend together. And even if the couple did not have children together, they still married into one another’s family and hopefully wish to exit the relationship with grace and kindness toward his or her spouse’s family (and each other). And again, it’s a process to avoid unnecessary litigation.
There are plenty of other myths out there that need “busting.” But I know I can keep your attention for only so long. So please, accept my challenge and let’s show some folks a better path.