When you are considering going the route of a collaborative divorce, you should start by talking with collaborative neutral professionals. We come in two flavors: financial professional and mental health professional (aka coaches). You might think you should start with talking to attorneys. That can work, but if you start with the neutral professionals, you can ask them for referrals to attorneys.
Here’s an insider tip: We neutral professionals only like working with the best collaborative attorneys. Those are the attorneys we’ll tell you about. Our reputations are on the line. When a collaborative law case goes bad, it hurts us too.
We like to work with collaborative attorneys who repeatedly attend interdisciplinary collaborative training courses. How frequent? I’d say every third year. The training courses I’m talking about are two-day interdisciplinary training courses. The best training courses include role-playing among the three kinds of professionals — attorneys, financial professionals and mental health professionals (aka coaches). The not-so-good training courses are just lectures.
You should choose a collaborative attorney who attends both the role-playing interdisciplinary training courses repeatedly over the years. An attorney I often work with, Norma Trusch, created and teaches the Collaborative Law Institute of Texas interdisciplinary role-playing course. She is a collaborative law attorney who really knows her stuff.
I have attended three role-playing interdisciplinary training courses and one lecture-only training course over five years. I am also a substitute trainer for the Collaborative Law Institute of Texas interdisciplinary role-playing course.
Collaborative law is an area that does not require licensing or credentials. There is nothing to stop a professional from saying they are collaborative when they are not adequately trained in collaborative law. This means that you, the consumer, need to ask questions and get referrals.