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Are collaborative attorneys obligated to let the client know if they feel the case is adversarial and not liking to work?

Cleveland, OH |

I just wrote about the process not going well. Is the attorney and/or the collaborative social worker
under any obligation to help the client sort out their true thoughts about the case? If we cant even agree and have a smooth transition to any of the child visitation switches, I cant imagine my controlling ex husband signing off on a collaborative agreement unless it strongly favored him. thoughts?

Attorney Answers 4


  1. You need to consult with a lawyer that is not a collaborative law attorney. Sounds like you are wasting your time and money. Divorce lawyers negotiate the settlement as part of their representation of you. Most experienced divorce lawyers have doe this literally hundreds and even thousands of times.

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  2. No. That's one of the many reasons why you should have your own attorney review anything before you sign it.

    Under the rules governing the conduct of attorneys in New York it may be necessary to remind you that this answer could be considered attorney advertising.


  3. I am Not sure what a collaborative lawyer is, but in Ohio a lawyer can only represent one party. Some people go to mediators, but at some point they need to reduce the agreement to writing and that usually requires an attorney. If both are reasonable then a dissolution would make the most sense. A dissolution is we're both parties agree on everything. contact an attorney to discuss your options and costs

    This is a general answer and is not to be considered specific legal advise.


  4. Collaborative divorce and related efforts are by definition suited only for persons divorcing where active animosities and personal hostilities between the parties are not at work and, generally, where there are not strongly contested issues of custody and asset allocation. The collaborative divorce process is an alternative to traditional legal process. It takes the divorce process out of court, and proceeds instead on the parties mutual choice to settle all aspects of the divorce by voluntary written agreement. Typically, the collaborative process bigins with all parties contractually agreeing to resolve all issues outside of court. For the process to work, both parties must agree to be fair, reasonable, and respectful toward each other and must live up to those agreements.The agreement to proceed by the collaborative process will not preclude you from terminating that effort and proceeding with a traditional court-filed petition for divorce.

    When collaborative processes don't work, you need to convert SAP to a traditional court case.

    I am closely affiliated with some attorneys whose practices are limited to collaborative processes, and I well understand the special and different skills that kind of legal practice entails. But none of those processes is a one-size fits all that can take the place of a "traditional" divorce when the basic collaborative premise of mutual commitment is not met. It is a fact that the collaborative professional "team," including the attorneys, can be slow to recognize the unsuitability of a specific matter for the collaborative process. This probably reflects the sincerity of the true believer. But you need to stay alert to the temperature of your matter. If you can't move toward in the collaborative process with confidence because of your doubts about the emotional capabilities of the other party, you will need to exercise your legal options. Talk to a skilled traditional divorce attorney.

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