It Takes a Village!

It Takes a Village!

From the desk of My Collaborative Team President, Edward S. Sachs, ACP

That saying holds true in the Collaborative Process.  Except in the Collaborative Process the Village is your Team.  And it is your team’s ethical responsibility to provide a safe, open, and understanding environment for the participants.

I just completed a matter that wasn’t easy.  The family of three had led a very comfortable lifestyle.  Unfortunately, as happens in many divorces, the realization that they were living beyond their earnings capacity was a real gut punch to the wife.  The husband’s investment assets would provide large gains every three to five years and they had been living off those asset gains.

Because of what was soon to be a significant change in her life, the wife had lost trust in her husband.  How could this be?

Had this been a litigated matter, all out war would have been fought.  

But this Collaborative team would have nothing to do with letting this matter fail.  All efforts were put forth to make sure that both parties understood the feelings and reactions of their spouse.  We worked as a team to make sure the wife understood the financials, had a comfort level with believing the information was accurate and, most importantly, her feelings were being recognized and her voice was being heard.

We came to what we hoped would be the final team meeting.  We were going through the marital settlement agreement and negotiating any final issues.  Once again, we had a power imbalance.  The husband had been assisting his attorney in the drafting of the MSA over the prior two weeks.  The wife had just gotten a draft two days earlier.  There was no way she was going to sign.  Again, with teamwork and understanding from the husband’s attorney, we were able to slowly walk the wife through the agreement, make sure she understood everything and that she was comfortable.  In the end, she surprised everyone when she announced she was ready to sign.

It took our entire Village to make this one work!

1 Response

  1. Great summary of the collaborative process in action. Thanks you for providing such a thoughtful and insightful report.