Written By: Katherine Morneau, Esq.
You have done your research, talked with friends and family, and you and your spouse agree that the collaborative process is the best way to resolve your divorce. Now what?
Step One: Meet With a Collaborative Coach
The first step in starting the collaborative process could be to meet with a Collaborative Coach. The Coaches are there to initially meet with both spouses to explain how the process works, learn more about the “hot button issues” in the case, and make recommendations for collaborative attorneys if needed.
To find a Coach, use your local collaborative divorce organization’s member list located on their website. In New Hampshire, we have all collaborative professionals listed on the Collaborative Divorce New Hampshire’s website. You can search for a Coach in your area and learn more about their credentials.
The Coaches will usually schedule a joint session with both spouses and a session with each spouse alone. If you feel that the collaborative process is still right for you and the Coach agrees that you are a good fit for the process, both spouses should next individually meet with a Collaborative Attorney if they have not already found one.
Step Two: Hire a Collaborative Lawyer
Not all lawyers are created equal. Finding the right attorney is so important to a successful collaborative process. If the Coach has provided you with a few names of attorneys, research them to see if they have qualities that might fit with your personal needs. You may want to meet with a few lawyers before making a final decision.
Step Three: Meet With a Financial Neutral
After Collaborative Lawyers have been hired, they will have a meeting with the Coach and discuss the next steps including hiring a Financial Neutral. Once the Financial Neutral has been selected, that individual will send out a list of financial documents to start gathering such as paystubs, taxes, bank statements to name a few. Usually, a meeting with the Financial Neutral will happen prior to the first meeting of the full team (6-way meeting) to prepare budget reports and marital property reports.
After all professionals have been hired, they will meet to discuss when the first 6-way meeting will be scheduled. There are other options to start the collaborative process such as starting with Collaborative Attorneys but at the end of the day, the preparation that is needed to get to the first 6-way meeting is the same.
Click here To learn more about Collaborative Divorce and how the process works.
Our office is located at 30 Temple Street, Suite 503, Nashua, NH 03060 and our phone number is 603-943-5647