Collaborative Law support Cape Cod

Collaborative practice

In 2011, I spent a great deal of time studying and training in a new area of alternative dispute resolution – a practice referred to as Collaborative Law. In September, I completed a multiple day training at Bentley University entitled Collaborative Practice Interdisciplinary Training: A Respectful Approach to Conflict Resolution. This was truthfully perhaps the finest training I have ever completed in all my years of continuing education as a CPA. The training was conCollaborative Practiceducted by the Massachusetts Collaborative Law Council and the dedicated individuals involved have my sincere thanks and appreciation. Collaborative Law in practice is a relatively new approach at alternative dispute resolution. In a collaborative engagement, each spouse will hire their own attorneys, chosen from a more select list of qualified attorneys who have trained in the collaborative function. Attorneys who gravitate toward collaborative are ones who have successfully completed what we refer to as a “paradigm shift” in their mind. They typically see litigated divorce as unproductive and inefficient. These attorneys recognize that the old methods of approaching divorce don’t work.

In the collaborative process, the clients and their attorneys sign a contract that states that they will work together cooperatively (collaboratively) to create a negotiated divorce agreement FOR the parties. The contract stipulates that the parties will not litigate (take their discussion to the Court). One of the really interesting aspects of collaborative practice is the use of a so-called coach who will guide the divorcing parties and the lawyers through the process. Coaches are highly trained and skilled individuals whose background typically includes some level of experience in the mental health field.

CPA’s and financial planners often take an important role as part of the collaborative “team” as they provide the analysis and financial support for much of the framework of the agreements. I have earned my certification as a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) to further his qualifications to practice in Collaborative Law as this method of divorce negotiation gains favor in Massachusetts. While mediation will continue to be my primary focus, especially when dealing with mid to upper middle class clients in divorce, my support of my lawyer colleagues in the collaborative world will bring tremendous value and insight to the overall experience.

My completion date for the CDFA designation was June, 2012.