FAQ for the Divorce Professional

Why Do I Need All This Training?

We all want the public to have a great experience with Collaborative Practice. Whether you are an attorney, financial expert, child expert, counselor, or other professional, your traditional training has not prepared you very well for what makes Collaborative Practice a unique and rewarding experience for all participants. Training specific to Collaborative Practice will assist you in transferring your professional education, knowledge and experience to the Collaborative Practice framework. It provides the links between the professions necessary for true collaboration to occur. The more training you have in Collaborative Practice, the more likely the public will benefit from your knowledge and the more likely Collaborative Practice will be successful and flourish.

Do The Attorneys Really Have to Agree Not to Litigate?

Often attorneys new to Collaborative Practice wonder why it is necessary to enter into an agreement not to represent the client in court if the Collaborative process does not resolve all issues. The agreement to not use Collaborative attorneys in any future litigation is fundamental to what makes Collaborative Practice work. Such an agreement motivates all Collaborative participants to resolve all issues short of court. No matter how well intentioned the participants might be, if the hurdle to court is low, it erodes the structure that makes the Collaborative Practice model strong. In addition, in the Collaborative Process, an attorney hears things from the other client that would normally never be shared, thus giving the attorney an unfair advantage if the case went to court.

What about professional ethics considerations?

Adherence to professional ethics standards is a strong function of the various practice groups. Ethical considerations are always best dealt with by significant and varied input. The practice groups provide a venue for lively and learned discussions of ethical concerns as well as an avenue into the approaches and opinions of national and international organizations with similar concerns and standards. Practice groups can also present ethical dilemmas to the appropriate professional organizations with the strength of a collective group.

What are the costs and benefits to me as an Attorney?

As an attorney the benefits are many. Perhaps one of the greatest benefits is the shift to a practice devoid of last minute runs to the courthouse, crisis and stress related to constant positioning for your client. A Collaborative case allows great predictability in your schedule. The case is handled according to the schedules of the parties, not subject to the dictates of the courthouse calendar. In addition the case can be addressed with the willing involvement of the necessary non legal experts. This means that there are no more "dueling experts" that require your time and energy to manage and prepare for. The experts are part of the same team and facilitate the movement of the case.

In addition, the rewards of seeing the immediate impact of work and satisfaction of clients is immeasurable. With the high level of client satisfaction at the end of the case, referrals are likely. Because the Collaborative approach can free up significant amounts of professional time case loads can be increased.

What are the costs and benefits to me as an Allied Professional? Can I Afford to Practice Collaboratively?

The real question is can you afford to continue at your current stress level and long hours? Being trained as a Collaborative Professional provides you a choice for managing and balancing not only your caseload, but your free time as well. Balancing your caseload with some lower stress Collaborative Practices cases will increase your overall productivity and sense of well being. The predictability of Collaborative Process cases allows you to easily strike a balance between your professional and private life. Reducing the stress and unpredictability factors in your caseload allows you the freedom to fully and adequately prepare for your non Collaborative Practice cases.

What's a Practice Group?

Professionals trained in Collaborative Practice collaborate! They do this through practice groups who set practice standards that fit the particulars of their community. Adherence to practice standards ensures that Collaborative Practice as a means of dispute resolution remains separate and distinct from the traditional litigation approach to dispute resolution. In addition, local practice groups advocate for appropriate court rules to support Collaborative Practice, provide forms specific to this model, and work to promote Collaborative Practice to the general public. Membership in a practice group is a way to reassure the consumer that they are truly getting a collaborative approach to resolving their dispute. Spokane County Collaborative Professionals (SCCP) is your local practice group, the sponsor of this website.

Is there a State Wide Collaborative Practice Group?

Yes. Collaborative Professionals of Washington is a group of Washington Professionals pursuing the promotion of Collaborative Practice, uniform court rules, appropriate legislation, coordinated trainings, and high standards of practice. Within the state wide group there are many local practice groups. This is another mechanism for maintaining the purity of Collaborative Practice.

What is IACP and Should I Join?

The International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP) is the definitive practice group. Nearly everyone who gets the Collaborative Practice bug eventually joins the IACP. The IACP does a great job of providing promotional and educational materials, sponsoring international conferences and bringing together experts from around the world to address cutting edge Collaborative Practice issues. Some local practice groups require or strongly suggest IACP membership. For more information on IACP visit their website at www.collaborativepractice.com.

Do I have to join a practice group or the IACP to practice collaboratively?

Not really, however membership in a recognized group communicates your qualifications to consumers. Membership in the local practice group also affords you the benefits of the power of group advertising and support. Most importantly it keeps you informed of advances in this evolving model and keeps you connected to other trained Collaborative Professionals in the community.

Do You have Standardized Forms?

Yes. The state and local practice groups have standardized forms. We have a standardized fee agreement, participation agreement, allied hiring agreements, release forms, handbooks for clients, letters to send opposing parties, evaluation forms and other information to assist you in your Collaborative Practice. Some key portions of these standardized forms may not be modified in order to preserve the integrity of Collaborative practice. However, some modification to other portions of the documents may be made to meet you personalized approach. Membership in SCCP alone entitles you to use of many of the forms.