Archive for June, 2013

Is the Collaborative Process Right for You?

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

The Collaborative Process is an out-of-the-box way to resolve your family disputes but it is not right for everyone.

Both people have to come into the Collaborative Process with the understanding that this is not your typical divorce or parenting case.  The goal is not to set up your case against the other party and anticipate any offensive moves for the next Court Hearing.  The goal is to work together and keep the process from becoming adversary and contentious.

With that in mind, the first thing that is required by everyone involved is to be open, honest and disclose all financial information.  Each person needs to understand the full financial picture and rely on the fact that no one is hiding anything.  We bring in a Financial Neutral to assist in this process.

Through this process everyone can begin to build trust and discuss matters such as the parenting schedule and division of assets.  The use of a Mental Health Coach is a great opportunity to allow this process to happen naturally.  Each individual sets the pace of this process.  If one person needs a little more time this process is designed to allow for that.  If everyone is ready to move the process forward we can do that as well.  If this was a typical divorce we would be at the mercy of the Court’s schedule and really have no control over the timing.

So is the Collaborative process right for you?  Answer these questions and you will know: Do you want you and your spouse to be open and honest about your finances?  Do you want you and your spouse to determine what is best for your family?  Do you want to set your own pace and timeline in this process?


Attorney Kate Morneau
Attorney Katherine Morneau

Attorney Katherine Morneau is a collaborative divorce lawyer with Morneau Law in Nashua, N.H.

What Happens When It’s Over?

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Fred and Wilma got through the divorce process using the collaborative model.  Agreements were filed on the topics of property distribution, child support and alimony.  With the help of a neutral child specialist, they agreed upon a parenting plan for their 11-year old daughter Pebbles who will soon start middle school.  These were difficult conversations, as Fred and Wilma have never seen eye to eye on parenting.

All is calm now, but given the history of their relationship, Wilma expects that she and Fred will disagree about issues affecting Pebbles as she enters the teenage years.  She foresees tension around issues such as; when will Pebbles be old enough for her own cell phone?  When will she be old enough to be left home alone after school?  What about dating?  What if Pebble’s afterschool activities or part-time job affect the parenting schedule?

Such issues arise frequently between divorced parents who do not communicate well.  Turning to the court to resolve such disputes is likely to cause frustration with the slow pace, significant expense and adversarial nature of the process.  Moreover, neither parent really wants a judge to make parenting decisions for them.

Parenting disputes are difficult and emotionally trying but they are best resolved by the parents.  Parents in conflict need the help of a neutral to communicate.  Fortunately, Fred and Wilma have several options for alternate dispute resolution.  They may choose to reassemble the collaborative team for the purpose of addressing post-divorce parenting issues.  Or they may instead turn to a neutral who specializes in the resolution of parenting disputes, such as a co-parenting counselor or parenting coordinator.  Both methods assist parents in resolving parenting issues, increasing cooperation and reducing stress for the child while encouraging the parents to become more child-focused.

Co-parenting counseling involves an aspect of mental health treatment, assisting parents in managing their own behavior in order to unburden the child.  Parenting coordination is pure dispute resolution with no treatment involved.  Parenting coordination is non-confidential, allowing the parenting coordinator to hold the parents accountable to reduce conflict and to help get their child out of the middle.  The parenting coordinator’s ability to report back to attorneys regarding to what is going on can be helpful in getting increased cooperation and assist in settlement of disputes.

Papelian Photo

Jeanmarie Papelian, Esq.


Attorney Jeanmarie Papelian is a collaborative divorce lawyer with McLane, Graf, Raulerson  & Middleton in Manchester, N.H.