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Bringing the Magic

I had a case in which I was retained, not for a collaborative matter, but for litigation. (Back then, I still had the reputation for being “an aggressive family law trial attorney.”)

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Growing Apart

Overheard among a group of middle school boys drinking mochas in a coffeehouse, as one tastes another’s coffee: “That is so ridiculously sweet! That’s like something a five-year-old would make!”

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Collaborative Life Planning

Life can deal you some challenging circumstances and unpredicted stresses that can impact your quality of life and marriage. Why wait until they happen when you can plan for them ahead of time. They may not come to pass, but you will have an agreed path forward if they do.

Life Happens — Plan for it

Major life changes often precede divorce. However, with thoughtful and agreed-upon planning in place ahead of time, you and your spouse can be equipped to deal with them. Joryn Jenkins explains how Collaborative Life Planning can help keep your relationship intact.

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What is Collaborative Life Planning?

Joryn Jenkins of Open Palm Law is a trained collaborative attorney who uses these skills not only in divorces, but also in other stressful life events. Such triggering events include pregnancy, infertility, the death of a loved one, caring for an aging parent, the end of a career or loss of a job, when your adult children leave home or return to the nest, an affair, or planning for a second marriage.

Unlike collaborative divorce that seeks to help spouses end their marriage in a healthy way, the goal of collaborative life planning is to guide couples, and others involved, as they transition through life-changing events.

As in the collaborative divorce process, an interdisciplinary team of attorneys and neutral professionals apply collaborative practice to assist the clients as they transition from one stage of their relationship to another. The professionals educate the couple on interest-based negotiations and goal setting. The team promotes transparency and teaches positive communication skills.

The Goal of Collaborative Planning

The goal is to prevent problems from arising, as well as to teach the couple how to deal with their issues in a positive way when they do crop up. The team teaches the couple techniques for effective communication. The couple learns how to brainstorm and to problem solve together.

The end result of collaborative life planning is a written agreement that defines and distributes roles in the relationship. Much like a partnership agreement in a business, this agreement sets the expectations and guidelines for the couple, at least with respect to the life event in question. The agreement includes terms for periodic evaluation and feedback, as well as adjustment and revision. Most agreements will include promises to reunite the collaborative team as problems arise, and, in the event of divorce, a vow to first try the collaborative divorce process option.

As in regular collaborative practice, lawyers in the collaborative life planning process not only act as trusted advisors to their clients, but they also draft documents that can be both legal and aspirational. A facilitator guides the team and leads the team in constructive communication. She plays an important role in setting client goals. The financial professional can help the couple to create a clear plan for managing their finances. And other experts may be utilized depending on the specific needs of the couples, like child specialists, real estate experts, tax experts, valuators, and others.

Let Joryn Jenkins of Open Palm Law guide you in a healthy way through your life-changing event!