Choosing your collaborative divorce lawyer is one of the most important parts of the collaborative divorce process. It is crucial that your lawyer has the proper training to effectively work with your spouse, your spouse’s lawyer, and the other experts in your case. Many lawyers will say that they are “collaborative” or “cooperative” and will suggest that formal training is not necessary. This is not the case. Lawyers who lack formal collaborative training will cause the collaborative process to be less efficient and possibly create situations in which the process falls apart completely.
If your spouse has already met with a collaboratively trained lawyer, that lawyer will likely have provided him/her with a list of other collaboratively trained lawyers that they like to work with. In a litigated matter, a spouse may look warily on lawyers recommended by their spouse’s lawyer. In the collaborative context, on the other hand, it is crucial that both lawyers get along on both a personal and professional level.
If you are trying to find a collaboratively trained lawyer on your own, there are already a few practice groups in Oregon and the greater Portland metro area. These groups can be found on the IACP website (http://www.collaborativepractice.com). The website has links to local practice groups.
For more information on collaborative divorce, contact the law offices of Stephens & Margolin LLP for a consultation.