“Divorce is a Positive Experience” (Part II)

Did you read my blog last week? Are you back to get the low-down on collaborative divorce client critiques and testimonials? As I mentioned then, I actually had a client describe his divorce in the exact words used in the title to this blog. Are you back to find out how I discovered that he describes his divorce that way?

I always debrief my clients after the last full-team collaborative meeting is completed and the paperwork is signed. So does my co-collaborative counsel, the lawyer representing my client’s spouse; many of us do. The difference is that I’ve initiated a protocol in which we both ask very specific questions designed to elicit very specific responses, questions that I’ve provided to my teammate in advance. We collect the clients’ responses and report them back to the team professionals.

But I also use these testimonials to market my collaborative divorce practice.

Last week, I promised to share some of the testimonials that my clients have provided, so hold on tight, here are the most recent five:

image-1-153x300The Wife:

My biggest fear before going into the collaborative divorce process (CP) was that we wouldn’t be able to agree to anything. I was surprised that we were able to listen to each other as well as we did. This was because the professionals were so active in helping us hear each other’s points of view. It certainly sounds different when someone else says it, even when it’s the same thing your husband just said.

It was a surprise that I got what I wanted and he got what he wanted. But I think what I wanted changed during the process, and we ended up compromising in the end. It was not the battle I expected; it was not hostile. He heard me out, and I heard him out. I was able to say what I needed to say about how I really felt and he listened to me. I think he did the same, saying what he needed to say, and I listened to him.

The most amazing thing was how we were all on the same team, all of the neutrals and our lawyers, mine and his, and both of us, just trying to get this resolved. I learned how to communicate with him, to wait it out, to calm down, and to think about the words I would say that could make our discussion better instead of worse. And what I really wanted for my son.

When I came into the process, I wasn’t talking to my husband, just texting or e-mailing, because I didn’t want my son thinking we were getting back together. What I learned was that it was more important for my son to see we do get along, especially so that he didn’t try to play us off against each other as he has in the past.

My lawyers were truly amazing; the first meeting especially was a roller coaster, not knowing what to expect. I still remember what Joryn said at that meeting, when I stormed out, so angry and so frustrated. “Just come back and talk; say what you have to say.” I trusted her and, even as unsure as I was, because I trusted her, we still accomplished something at that meeting.


The Husband:

I would say that I had the usual concerns about going through a divorce: that the process was fair, that I would be heard, and that it would be a long, drawn out process. No fear after making the decision to use collaborative. I was actually reassured after learning about CP. Becoming informed about CP completely alleviated anticipated fear and apprehension.

I felt that I had a voice and that I would be heard. It wasn’t a lopsided process, I liked that. I also liked that it was timely. I liked working with the team…I fell like they gave [my wife] and I the helping hand we needed to get through it. [We] were able to explain to one another (and hear each other) on how our son felt. It allowed us to share what he was saying in a neutral and safe setting without involving him in the process and potentially exposing him to conflict.

I feel that the process gave me insight into a lot of things between [my wife] and I and our son. The team was there to clear up any questions we had; I felt I could have an exchange with any of the team members and that shortened the process. I liked that the process was goal-centered and common ground was easy to find. No downside. Finishing in such a timely manner…I mean from beginning to end it was less than 90 days! It was easy, well plotted out, and not at all nerve wrecking.

Did anything surprise you during the process? Yes…that emotions surfaced that I thought had been resolved and put away a long time ago.


The Wife:

I couldn’t have been happier with my collaborative divorce experience. Initially, I was concerned that my husband and I would not be able to do what we wanted to do and agree to what we wanted to agree. But, while our team explained to us the possible ramifications of our choices, ultimately, they let us decide. My husband and I went into the process fairly agreeable, and I was worried that the team might cause us to conflict, but that did not happen at all. The entire process went smoothly with no complications.

I was impressed by how easy my team made the process. My attorney was always there for me, responding very quickly to my questions and concerns. The neutrals were as well. The team was excellent and really seemed to want what was best for me and my family.

The Husband:

My biggest fear about my divorce prior to consulting with my collaborative attorneys was how I would be able to afford the divorce. But once I decided to try the collaborative process, I didn’t really have any fears. I just wasn’t really sure what to expect, and I wanted everything to be fair and equitable to everyone involved.

I liked the fact that the collaborative process went fast and was quite peaceful. The process made a difference in our child’s life because there was not as much hurting. Our child got to see us be peaceful instead of duking it out in court. The collaborative process was more peaceful, rather than fight after fight. . . .

I especially appreciated the ongoing open communication between all of the professionals involved. The facilitators were great! They were very attentive, empathic, and understanding. The financial neutrals were attentive and very good listeners. They recorded what we said, whether they agreed with it or not, and worked very well together. My attorneys really looked out for my best interest and allowed me to be educated and informed about, not just the process, but also the law. My wife’s lawyers were nice, polite, and not confrontational. They did not attack me. The entire process was a positive experience, something I did not expect from my divorce.

The Wife:

Thankfully, I resolved my marriage using the collaborative practice method. My collaborative divorce was much quicker and easier than it would have been if my ex and I had chosen the traditional litigation process. The aspect of the collaborative model that appealed to me most was the opportunity to have everything settled before going to court. I was most scared by the possibility that my ex-spouse and I would not be able to agree on everything during the team meetings. But, with the help of our collaborative team, we were able to come to a full agreement. I liked the collaborative process because it gave my ex and I an opportunity to resolve our most personal and private matters ourselves, rather than having a judge decide them. . . . I strongly recommend choosing the collaborative practice method if you are going through a divorce.

You’ll notice that, although their grammar wasn’t always perfect, these folks spoke from the heart. Did you notice when the second husband explained “The entire process was a positive experience, something I did not expect from my divorce”? Isn’t that the most amazing accolade? How often are we blessed with such an inspiring validation of the work that we do?

Ask for feedback, but help your clients provide it to you. Make it easy for them by asking the right questions and recording their responses while they are still in your offices. Help them help you change the way the world gets divorced!

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