FAQs on Collaborative: How to Make Collaborative Sessions more Productive for You

Collaborative Divorce has many finer points that clients and students often ask about. These FAQs posts clarify some of these muddier details, giving you the opportunity to accrue as much helpful information as you can. Whether you are considering your divorce options, seeking more knowledge about the process you’ve already chosen, or hoping to learn more about Collaborative Divorce more generally, the FAQs on Collaborative are a straight-forward teaching tool to answer specific questions you might have. If you have more questions, please feel free to contact the Miller Law Group at 914-738-7765.

How can you make Collaborative meetings more productive?

Write down your thoughts and feelings in a journal, reflecting on the sessions. Ask good questions of yourself. Is anything about the divorce process making you uncomfortable or, conversely, meeting your needs quite well? Is your attorney giving you the support you need? In an ideal world, how might the next session go? What would happen? Take time to write down your thoughts about the process. Share those thoughts and feelings with your lawyer. Together, you can devise a strategy to make the meetings better for you.

Along those lines, recognize that your thoughts and feelings about the divorce (and about your life in general, as it relates to the divorce) will not occur in a linear fashion. Insights will come to you at inconvenient times: at 4 o’clock in the morning, when you wake from a dream; when you’re stuck in traffic; when you’re in the middle of a meeting at work; and when you’re checking out at the supermarket. Most people just let those thoughts go — i.e. they don’t consciously collect and process them. However, you may find it useful to write those thoughts down on a notepad or computer when you have them, so that you can act on them appropriately at a suitable time.

For instance, you may be having coffee with a friend and talking about what is going on. During that conversation, you may realize that planning for retirement is more important to you than staying in the house. Or, let’s say you wake up one morning and suddenly realize that you need to go out of town over a holiday weekend and that this trip will interfere with your time sharing arrangement. If you write down this concern so you can discuss it with your spouse and/or attorney, it will be far easier for you to remember when it comes time to meet again.

Write down your thoughts, stresses and ideas about the divorce, so that you can think more effectively about them and spend less time and energy worrying unproductively about them. A journal can also help you process what is coming up for you emotionally. Many people find that writing down how they are feeling helps them cope with the myriad of confusing emotions that come up for them during the divorce process. Make sure to keep your journal in a safe place though. It can be detrimental to your best interests if it falls into the wrong hands.

Solicit feedback from your attorney throughout the process. Based on similar cases that you have handled in the past, how do you think mine is going? What could I be doing differently or better? What should our next steps be? The more clarity you have, the better you will sleep at night, and the more you can focus on truly productive activities.

Come to the sessions rested, fed, well dressed and prepared. You might also want to schedule a rewarding activity afterwards, such as an afternoon at the salon or a meal with a friend. Also, visualize how you want to be during this process. Imagine what you could do or say that would be unproductive, and then define how to be in the opposite terms. For instance:

  • I’m shy: what if I fail to say what I really want during the negotiations? Would translate to: I am clear and articulate about what I need and want during the negotiations.
  • What if my spouse and I get into the same arguments we always have? Translates to: I will allow the professional team to guide us away from the same old arguments that lead nowhere.

What if I feel stressed out and overwhelmed? Translates to: I will come to the sessions feeling restored, alert, compassionate, and ready to do business.