The Divorce DinerTM is a low cost public education workshop intended to provide knowledge and options to those people contemplating or going through a separation a place to start. We:
- help you understand and manage the legal, financial and emotional aspects of this challenging life transition,
- provide you with familiarity to the legislation and tools used in the separation/divorce trade,
- give you an unbiased map of the process options available to you and the pros and cons of each so that you can make informed decisions about which process will most likely lead to your desired outcomes,
- help you take, and keep control of your divorce and move forward with your life.
Upcoming Workshops – Contact us for details
Choosing your Lawyer/Professional
Once the decision is made to separate, the next most important decision will be the choice of professional you and your spouse choose to guide you through the process of making the decisions that flow from the separation. One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch. This is particularly true of the lawyers you and your spouse choose, but can also be true of the divorce coaches and financial specialists and especially your own attitudes towards the separation.
If you want to reach an agreement as fairly, quickly and inexpensively as possible, you and your spouse need to retain professionals who can functionally work with each other where you and your spouse cannot. This is the anti-thesis to what is depicted on TV and by a legal system that is motivated by the financial gain of increased conflict. Strange as it may sound, the best way to choose your lawyer, is with your ex-spouse. It is not unusual for clients to come to an initial interview with a support person, be it a friend or family member, and in fact this is generally a good idea. So why not have that person be your spouse? The more trust your spouse has in the genuineness of the process and in your lawyer’s neutrality of opinion (and the more trust you have in the same regard to the process and your spouse’s lawyer) the more efficient and functional will be the ability for everyone to reach the decisions that have to be reached regarding the separation. As long as you and your lawyer are clear that your lawyer is being consulted to act only as YOUR lawyer and your spouse is not to take anything said as providing them with legal advice, and further, as long as your spouse has not retained a lawyer to act on their behalf, there is no conflict in this arrangement. Indeed, the entire point is to ensure that there is no conflict or minimize what conflict may exist.
Where you go the old school way of choosing lawyers and professionals who mirror your views and attitude towards the relationship (and separation) you can also expect your lawyers and professionals to mirror your differences rather than find creative opportunities to overcome those differences. In the old school model, you can expect that the two people that your spouse will least trust in any process you are in will be you and your lawyer. Unless you have something to hide, the old school ways only work to delay an agreement and guess who is being paid by the hour during this delay?
If you and your spouse require a court to make decisions for you, then unfortunately, some research at least indicates that the manipulative ways of the old school process may indeed work to persuade a judge in your favour (see Edna Sussman, Arbitrator decision-Making: unconscious psychological influences and what you can do about them, 2013 American Review of International Arbitration, Vol. 24, No. 3, p 487). Of course where both spouses are equally manipulative any gains may be counter balanced and certainly it is not difficult to account for the escalation in cost of the process.
Next to choosing your professionals, your decision on which of the many processes available should be the focus of your attention. Separating is not easy or particularly fun; the natural reaction to the emotions and decisions that have to be experienced and resolved is to want it over yesterday. Consequently, most people rush to solutions. The problem is that when you stumble, as is inevitable, you fall hard and without a safe containment for your landing there is a tendency to end up in court.
Choosing a process prior to a solution provides a safe containment for disagreement on the decisions to be made. It also provides a potential release allowing you, your spouse and your professionals to move beyond any impasse so that you can find common ground on decisions that initially seemed impossible to resolve.
The mainstream processes used in separation at present are mediation, collaboration, negotiation and litigation, with new hybrids of each of these coming on stream. No one process will work best for everyone, but one of these, or a hybrid, will work best for your particular situation. If you meet with a trial lawyer, guess which process they will recommend? If you meet with a mediator, what do you suppose they will suggest? We provide the Divorce DinerTM Workshop that is open for everyone and is designed to assist you with your process decision. Ideally, you would attend this or a similar workshop with your spouse so you can make an informed decision on the process you wish to use together.