How do I get my spouse to engage in the collaborative process?

 
 
JENNIFER MOSHIER: Hello, I’m Jennifer Moshier of Peaceful Family Law. One question I’m commonly asked by clients who approach me is, “I really want to use the collaborative process; I know for a fact. I found you and I found the collaborative process, and it just looks like the right process for me. How do I get my spouse to engage in the collaborative process?”

Well, one of the first things I try to do is I try to get that spouse to the table in the sense that I try to give them all the information that I have available that is also available to the public about the collaborative process. This process is so different than any other process in Arizona and only recently became codified as for letter of law under Rule 67.1 of the Arizona Family Law Rules.

So Rule 67.1 says that any attorney in Arizona may use the collaborative process. However, because it’s a new rule and some new attorneys haven’t yet trained to use that process, it can be a difficult shift for some attorneys to make. The reason is you go from being trained to go to war for your client to being trained to go to war for your client to find a resolution; very different ship.

So you’re going into this battle, but the battle is not so much against the other side or against the other attorney. It’s against the lack of solutions that may exist. So your goal is to be creative as the attorney in a collaborative process to find solutions.

So that’s the first step. I try to get clients to the table with the other side, their spouse, and get the spouse the information that they may need. If the spouse has an attorney, I will reach out to the attorney. I’ll give them a call, I’ll send them an email, I’ll write them a letter even and offer the collaborative process.

Now, what if your spouse is not willing to consider collaborative process? One option you may have is, frankly, to go to court. And there are some attorneys out that, if your spouse hires them, I may come back and say, “I’m sorry, but your fees are going to be considerably higher because of the attorney that your spouse has chosen.” So it’s really important from the outset that, if you can, you try to act with as much integrity as possible. I covered this in an earlier video, but certainly trying to locate an attorney who’s cooperative or collaborative can be done.

The attorneys that I would recommend to someone else or suggest to someone else is – the list is actually a list of attorneys who I know, but they’re necessarily my best friends. I just know that they’re committed to the outcome of their client and the outcome of the case in a way that won’t cause destruction for years to come.
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