Managing Expectations

One of the most distinguishing characteristics of the collaborative divorce process is that it is client driven.  That means that the clients identify what is most important to them at the beginning of the process and the focus of the team throughout the process is to try to find a solution that honors those interests and goals that the family has identified.  However, the role of the team members is also to keep the process on track.  As team members we will often times have a “debrief” at the conclusion of a case to examine what the team did well, and what areas there are for improvement.  The team debrief is a way for us as practitioners to reflect on the process with the benefit of hindsight and to see where we can learn and perhaps improve, for the next case.

At a recent debrief, our team focused on the length of time it took to resolve a case.  At the outset, the family had set a timetable for resolution that the team ultimately was unable to meet.  The team realized, during our debrief, that the family had an unrealistic expectation of the length of time this particular case was likely to take.  We as team members, and experienced practitioners should have modified the timetable at the outset, rather than have it take longer than anticipated at the end.  Sometimes we can’t always predict how a case will evolve, but as a team we should be constantly aware of the time that the case is taking, and have some discussion of realistic timeframes if the family is expecting a time table that may not be feasible.  Ultimately the parties will be most satisfied with the outcome if they are aware of the process and have input into any changes that are necessary along the way.  Using the roadmap may be a good start to managing everyone’s expectations.

Attorney Schirch

Attorney Schirch

Attorney Schirch is a collaborative divorce lawyer with Shanelaris & Schirch, PLLC in Nashua, N.H. www.sandslawfirm.com