Are Bulldogs Allowed in Collaborative?

Are Bulldogs Allowed in Collaborative?

Written by My Collaborative Team President, Edward S. Sachs

“I need a bulldog!  Can I get one in the Collaborative Process?”

During a recent phone interview with a potential Collaborative client, she asked me that question.  She was worried that her husband would not be honest about their finances. She needed to be assured that the Collaborative Process would provide her the same abilities to have the information forensically examined as a litigated case.

I assured her that a complete forensic examination could be performed.  There is nothing preventing the Collaborative neutral financial professional from performing the same type of examination that would be conducted in litigation.  The only thing lacking is subpoena power.  However, if the parties are truly committed to the Collaborative Process then subpoenas shouldn’t be needed, and a forensic examination should be able to be carried out quicker and less costly then it would in litigation.

In this matter, I have assured the wife I will request five years of records and will conduct a complete review of the cash flows to determine if anything appears to be missing.  I will conduct whatever examinations are needed to provide the wife with a level of comfort that all assets and liabilities are accounted for and that the husband’s income is being fully captured so that she can make a sound and educated decision at the time of settlement.  This fulfills Section 3.2B of the IACP Ethical Standards which require the Collaborative Professional to assist the clients in establishing realistic expectations. 

The Collaborative Process should not be considered a shortcut to settlement.  Any services provided in a litigated matter can also be provided in the Collaborative Process. 

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