In this video, Mary Ann and Jennifer explain the process of researching in divorce and sharing during the collaborative process.
MARY ANN HESS: I am Mary Ann Hess and I’m the managing member of Folks Hess Kass.
JENNIFER MOSHIER: I’m Jennifer Moshier. I’m the founder and managing member of Peaceful Family Law.
MARY ANN HESS: Jennifer, when people come to you seeking information about starting a divorce process or a paternity claim or any issue regarding family law, and you want to give them information about collaborative law being one of the options that they can pursue, how do you give them that information?
JENNIFER MOSHIER: Well, that’s a great question because people are coming to you in a time that their life, their foundation is slipping. The hand that they would normally reach out to hold isn’t there. Everything is changing in their world, and so we as attorneys – you probably experience that with your clients too. So I try to give my prospective clients and clients enough information that they can make an educated, informed decision about what collaborative law is, which is an out-of-court process designed for the creation of a resolution. You have to have two attorneys in a case, one on each side. And the attorneys are specifically retained for the purpose of helping their clients reach a resolution.
MARY ANN HESS: So I know that I’m collaboratively trained.
JENNIFER MOSHIER: Yes.
MARY ANN HESS: And I have over 10 years of experience in collaborative law. And I know you have been collaboratively trained —
JENNIFER MOSHIER: Yes.
MARY ANN HESS: — and have substantial experience as well. So when the client comes in and is comfortable with you having that experience, how do you give them information that they can share with their spouse?
JENNIFER MOSHIER: That is a really good question. I typically try to give them a neutral letter, and I try to give my clients a neutral sort of a form that they can pass along to their spouse. But one thing that I think people have concerns about is, “Oh, this list of attorneys or these people that the spouse is going to receive are just attorneys that are your friends” and the spouse won’t trust that.
How do you deal with that?
MARY ANN HESS: Well, the first thing I do is I refer them to bestlegalchoices.com. That gives information about the collaborative law process, it gives information about professionals who have experience, who have been trained, and have many years of using this model to help their clients go forward.
I think that’s a great launching point. No one’s required to hire a lawyer that would be on that list or a financial neutral or the communications coach, but it is a great launching point for your research. And my clients have found that to be very helpful.
JENNIFER MOSHIER: I mean, if I were to refer you a case and say, “Hey, I represent husband, would you be willing to represent wife,” you have no loyalty to me just because we both happen to be on the same list on a website, do you? I mean, none.
MARY ANN HESS: Yes. And in fact, I would probably be a little more cautious in that, in that when I do receive a referral, the first thing is I would set up an initial consultation with the person because it’s important that there’s a good fit. So simply because someone’s on that list doesn’t mean that has to be who you select.
JENNIFER MOSHIER: Absolutely, yeah.
MARY ANN HESS: And you want to ensure that the lawyer you work with in a collaborative process has a good fit and has the training and the experience to help you move forward when you’re seeking your resolutions.
JENNIFER MOSHIER: Great points, thank you.