Ok – so you’ve made the smart decision to proceed with a collaborative divorce.  You’ve talked to your attorney, your spouse is on board as is their attorney, and you’ve gathered all the documents you need for that first 4-way meeting.  Now what?

You may be feeling a little nervous, anxious, and perhaps a bit queesy.  This is all perfectly normal.  Imagine how you would feel before going in to have a judge decide when you will get to see your kids?  Now you feel better – right?

Here is a quick rundown of what happens at that first collaborative divorce 4-way meeting.

  • You will meet your spouse’s attorney for the first time – relax, we attorneys don’t bite, and collaborative lawyers don’t have a hidden agenda like a litigator
  • You will review and sign the participation agreement or pledge – I like to read these word for word and ask if anyone has any questions along the way
  • The attorneys will discuss how the process will work and how you will negotiate with one another
  • You and your spouse may discuss why you have decided to use the collaborative divorce process – Usually the reasons include some combination of the benefits I have talked about previously in this blog
  • You and your spouse will discuss your goals and interests – What do you want to get out of the process?
  • You will identify the issues that need to be resolved
  • You will exchange and review the documents that you have started to gather, and put together notebooks to organize these documents
  • You may resolve some temporary issues – Say one of you wants to move out to start the separation process.  You may discuss how this will occur and who will pay for it.
  • You will discuss the need (or lack thereof) for outside experts
  • You will be given homework and will schedule the next meeting

Even better than a trip to the dentist.