Ok – so you’ve made the smart decision to proceed with a collaborative divorce. You’ve talked to your attorney, your spouse is on board as is their attorney, and you’ve gathered all the documents you need for that first 4-way meeting. Now what?
You may be feeling a little nervous, anxious, and perhaps a bit queesy. This is all perfectly normal. Imagine how you would feel before going in to have a judge decide when you will get to see your kids? Now you feel better – right?
Here is a quick rundown of what happens at that first collaborative divorce 4-way meeting.
- You will meet your spouse’s attorney for the first time – relax, we attorneys don’t bite, and collaborative lawyers don’t have a hidden agenda like a litigator
- You will review and sign the participation agreement or pledge – I like to read these word for word and ask if anyone has any questions along the way
- The attorneys will discuss how the process will work and how you will negotiate with one another
- You and your spouse may discuss why you have decided to use the collaborative divorce process – Usually the reasons include some combination of the benefits I have talked about previously in this blog
- You and your spouse will discuss your goals and interests – What do you want to get out of the process?
- You will identify the issues that need to be resolved
- You will exchange and review the documents that you have started to gather, and put together notebooks to organize these documents
- You may resolve some temporary issues – Say one of you wants to move out to start the separation process. You may discuss how this will occur and who will pay for it.
- You will discuss the need (or lack thereof) for outside experts
- You will be given homework and will schedule the next meeting
Even better than a trip to the dentist.