Palm Beach County Divorce & Family Law Blog > What Happens at Your First Collaborative Divorce Meeting?

Posted on October 1, 2013

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From Charles D. Jamieson, Esq.:

You and your spouse have decided to participate in a collaborative divorce. You both retained attorneys. You are about to sit down at your first collaborative divorce meeting. You are feeling some anticipation and anxiety. What happens now?

The first collaborative divorce meeting is when the foundation for your collaborative divorce is set in place. The following should occur at your first collaborative divorce meeting. However, these elements do not have to occur in the order mentioned. Those essential elements are:

1. Restate and share your reasons for choosing the collaborative process for your divorce;

2. Review and sign the collaborative participation agreement (both spouses and their attorneys). Agree on the neutrals (mental health facilitator and financial neutral professional). Ideally, these individuals will have been selected beforehand. If so, those professionals also would be present at the first meeting and would be signing their participation agreements in the process for the collaborative divorce;

3. Talk over the cost of the collaborative divorce and how it will be paid (from what financial sources or accounts);

4. Set up temporary parenting/cash flow arrangements;

5. Discuss dates to obtain evaluations, such as an appraisal for the house or the business;

6. Put together a homework list, such as preparing a financial affidavit and gathering needed financial documents; and

7. Schedule the next meeting.

It is normal to feel anxious, stressed or nervous. However, those feelings would be greatly heightened or exacerbated if you were in the middle of a litigated divorce and are faced with going to court for the first time. The collaborative approach may not always be easy, but it is far easier, less expensive, less time consuming and far more emotionally taxing than a litigation divorce. For that reason, you are likely to come out at the other end of this process far better off than you would in litigation.

Read more at Palm Beach County Divorce & Family Law Blog.

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