My spouse and I don’t communicate at all. How can we use this process if we can’t talk to each other?
It’s fairly common for separating spouses to have serious communication problems. The Collaborative Practice lawyers and communication coaches will help each client individually to develop new ways to communicate with his or her spouse. The lawyers are present during the negotiations to help through the rough spots and defuse conflict and avoid destructive communication. Some clients request that the communication coaches also be present for these meetings.
What if my spouse does not make the disclosure he/she promises in the Participation Agreement?
If one of the spouses refuses to make proper disclosure, his or her lawyer is required by the Participation Agreement to withdraw from the case. This provides very strong incentive for both spouses to honor their promises.
What if we need help to decide certain issues?
Sometimes more information helps to make decisions, and it can be useful to hire outside, neutral experts to provide such information. For example, real estate appraisers or general appraisers can value certain assets. Input about the children’s needs may be obtained from a child development specialist. Accountants may be consulted for tax advice. Before any outside assistance is obtained both parties must agree on the selection and payment arrangements for the outside professional. Any expert whose services are used will not be allowed to assist either person if the matter does go to court in the future, unless agreed by both parties.
What if final settlement is not reached using Collaborative Practice?
When there is commitment to the process, most Collaborative Practice negotiations should be successful. However, there is no guarantee that every issue will be resolved. If one or both parties decides that they do not want to continue with Collaborative Practice then both lawyers must resign from the case. Usually the participation agreement stipulates that there must be notice in writing that they do not want to continue, and there is a period of 30 days before court action can be initiated, unless there is an emergency. The lawyers will assist in transferring the file to the new lawyer but will have no further involvement with the case.
What to do if you think Collaborative Practice is for you?
Once you have decided that Collaborative Practice may be the right process for you, it’s usually best for you to discuss this option with your spouse. Collaborative Practice can only take place if both parties agree. If your spouse agrees to consider Collaborative Practice you can each speak to your respective lawyers about the process or contact one of the members of Collaborative Practice Manitoba listed on this website and in the Yellow Pages. If you are hesitant to talk with your spouse, or he or she is resistant or not willing to talk about it, you can contact a collaborative lawyer for more information and ideas about how to approach the situation.
Are all lawyers collaborative?
No, not all lawyers are trained in Collaborative Practice. Lawyers, relationship coaches, financial specialists and child specialists have received the specialized training described on our “Building Your Collaborative Practice Team” page. Your chosen Collaborative Practice professional will be pleased to outline their training and experience.
How much will it cost?
The cost will vary depending on the level of communication and conflict between the parties and the complexity of the issues. The professionals involved will generally charge for their time based on their hourly rate. Cost and payment arrangements need to be discussed on a case by case basis.