While I am the first to admit that the Collaborative Process is often-times exceedingly difficult, sometimes you get those perfect cases in which the process works just like the introductory training taught. I just completed one of those.
Our case began with the professional briefing on April 23rd followed by the first team meeting on May 7th. Three of the four team members had just completed another successful matter. Our new team member was an experienced Collaborative lawyer that I had worked with before.
The family we were assisting through the process included three children ranging from 8 to 13 years old. The marriage was long-term. Both spouses were employed (though the wife was furloughed during Covid) and they had significant debt. Their goals included having their children stay in their current private school and maintain as normal a life as possible, sell their marital home and build financial stability and separate without too much disruption.
The first sign that the couple wanted to work together collaboratively came at our first team meeting. During that Zoom meeting they not only attended sitting next to each other on their back porch, but despite their strong emotions they showed empathy for each other.
Over the next two months we had three more team meetings. Each meeting the couple worked together and with the team to advance the process and build towards their ultimate goals. They were fortunate to sell their house within several weeks and close four weeks later. With the sale they were able to pay off all the marital debt. The husband, recognizing the wife’s need for more cash to provide a home for her and the children, agreed to give her almost three fourths of the house proceeds. The decisions came with little effort as their goals were in sync.
At our third team meeting we reached settlement. And then yesterday, exactly two months after the first team meeting, we met and settled the final details to conclude the preparation of the marital settlement agreement.
It was a textbook matter!