Tompkins County :: Ithaca New York

Ground Rules for Collaborative Law Process

Ground Rules for Collaborative Law Process

  • Attack the problems and concerns at hand, not each other.
  • Avoid positions; rather, express yourself in terms of needs and interests and the outcomes you would like to achieve.
  • Work for what you believe is the most constructive, acceptable agreement for both of you and for your family.
  • During the four-way conferences, remember the following:
    • Do not interrupt when your spouse or his/her attorney is speaking. You will have a full and equal opportunity to speak on every issue presented for discussion.
    • Do not use language that blames or finds fault with the other spouse. Try to use non-inflammatory words and be respectful of each other.
    • Speak for yourself, using ā€œIā€ statements.
    • If you share a complaint, try to raise it as your concern and follow up with a constructive suggestion.
    • If something is not working for you, please tell your attorney so that your concern can be addressed.
    • Listen carefully and try to understand what the other person is saying without being judgmental about the speaker or the message.
    • Talk with your attorney about anything you do not understand. Your attorney can clarify issues for you.
  • Be willing to commit the time required to meet regularly and be prepared for each meeting.
  • Be patient. Delays in the process can happen even with everyone acting in good faith.
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