Talks in divorce litigation tend to be something like the following:
The wife speaks with her attorney. The wife’s attorney speaks with the husband’s attorney. The two attorneys speak. The husband’s attorney speaks with the husband. The husband’s attorney speaks with the wife’s attorney. Etc., etc.
These communications could be phone calls, emails, or letters. Regardless, the costs can add up quickly, and the messages the players are trying to communicate often get distorted, somewhat like the old game of telephone you may have played as a kid, where a message is delivered from one person to the next, and, when you get to the last person, the original communication if often lost.
In contrast, in the Collaborative Process, messages are not lost in translation, as discussions in the Process take place at meetings, where everyone is present, including the spouses, the attorneys, and any other professionals involved in the case. Additionally, if communications do take place offline, which are relevant and important to the case, they are shared at the next meeting.
Also helping to create an environment of clear communications are guidelines which spouses are asked to follow during a collaborative case. Some examples include:
- Show respect to all meeting participants.
- Avoid accusations and name-calling.
- Listen to what is being said and avoid quick conclusions.
- Steer clear of positions and rigidity.
- Refrain from interruptions. Let others finish their thoughts before offering yours.
- If something’s bothering you, offer a productive solution to the issue.
- If you don’t understand something, ask for clarification or for it to be repeated.
- Try your best to be tolerant.