The primary thing that I discuss with clients right off the bat in the initial client meeting is the range of options.
From a kitchen-style informal divorce process (where they come to me and already have a plan to divorce) all the way to litigation because there may be a closely held business and a lot of baggage that needs to be settled by a third party arbitrator, like a judge. 85% to 90% of what occupies the space between those two extremes is where the collaborative divorce process and perhaps mediation live. I try to explain the differences in each of the processes. I get them to talk to me about where they think they are on that arc in order to help them avoid the extremes of litigation. Realizing that aspect of how they’re going to approach their own problems is really important. Then they are going to have to apply that in the collaborative process or in the mediation process. The success of the collaborative divorce process is in the fact that we push them away from the lawyers, away from the courthouse in making decisions and actually towards themselves so they can self-determine how their divorce will actually end up.
In the litigation process, people end up taking a back seat to the decisions about their future.
They not only take a back seat, they have no control over the timing. They have little control over the expense, and even less control over the outcome. That’s what that range of options represents to me as I explain it. When they first come in to talk to a lawyer, they’re not sure where they are. They have no footing anywhere. So to determine where they are, I try to explain those options:
- How much control do you want here?
- How much can you handle?
- There are clients that are simply not going to be candidates for anything but litigation because they just don’t have the sense of where they are and enough control.
- There are others who are meticulous and detail oriented. They should be in collaborative because they know their timing, they know what they want to do and when they want to do it. The explanation is to help them find out which option suits them the best.
What is the best way to manage a divorce?
I am a collaborative practitioner and my preference is to go collaborative. However, not everybody fits into this. In the collaborative process, we customize the divorce process to each couple’s needs. Some have children, some don’t. Some have a lot of wealth, others don’t. It depends on what problems present themselves in the process of rob-serving what the family was and what it’s going to be… and what their aspirations are. People often think they’re interviewing me to be their attorney when more often than not, I’m interviewing them to see what the best solution is.
To discuss your options for divorce call Mickey Gayler at (210) 495-5180 and to set up a time to talk about your specific circumstances so that you can understand what’s going to be best for you in the divorce.