It seems to be solid wisdom to “know where you’re going.” That’s why it’s important to ask your attorney for a roadmap of how the divorce process is expected to work for you.
Every client comes to the family lawyer with unique circumstances. It’s the attorney’s job to take those facts and circumstances and apply them to the Law. It’s possible for that attorney, then, to estimate the steps needed to complete whatever issues come with that client. Of course, this will likely involve alternate routes, depending on the complexity and peculiarities involved.
Our firm’s founding Senior Partner, William F. Neal, always stresses the importance of preparing a litigation plan for each and every client. He is a forty-plus-year lawyer who knows every in and out of the Courtroom. He is just an awesome litigator! He knows the importance of giving a client the vision he sees that client’s case taking. He adjusts it as new information is obtained or the “twists and turns” lead to a different path. But he is always on top of what’s going on in the client’s case.
I generally have a less litigious roadmap for my clients. I prefer taking cases to resolution through the collaborative process or other alternative dispute methods. I still see the importance of a clear roadmap to present to the client to resolve conflicts with the other party. As a matter of fact, here are the usual six steps found in a Roadmap to Resolution in a collaborative case:
1. establishing the playing field and ground rules via the collaborative law participation agreement;
2. stating and reviewing each party’s goals and interests/concerns;
3. gathering information;
4. option building and creations of solutions;
5. evaluating options and solutions; and
6. entering into peaceful negotiations and selections from the available options.
We often discuss in the office whose method is better, the litigation route or the collaborative process. Even though we both understand and respect the nuances of each practice method, we agree it is important to let the client know what to expect and what the road will likely look like. We agree on the importance to communicate early and communicate often with the client. The client is usually dealing with more than enough stress and unknowns. The least we can do is to paint a picture of where we’re going in the process.
Your trusted lawyer may very well do the same thing. If not, ask if a roadmap of your case can be created for you.