Archive for February, 2015

Will having a Collaborative team increase the costs of my divorce?

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015

Will having a Collaborative team increase the costs of my divorce?


No, for three reasons:


  1. The neutrals are specialists in what they do;
  2. Their hourly rates are lower than lawyers’; and
  3. The costs of the neutrals are generally split.


The coach is a licensed mental health professional with training and experience in relationships, communication, and conflict resolution. The coach has a neutral role, helping to prepare you for the settlement meetings by reducing misunderstandings and emotional intensity; as well as helping each of you to identify and express your needs and concerns.  Having a coach facilitate difficult conversations and negotiations helps the meetings to be more productive, reducing legal fees. Most important, a coach increases the likelihood of creating a mutually satisfying agreement.


The financial professional has training and experience in budgeting, taxes, and planning for your financial future. This knowledge allows him/her to help you understand your current financial situation, your options within the divorce process, and your future needs. As the financial professional is neutral, you and your spouse will have the same financial information. Without the financial professional, each of the lawyers would be spending time on financial calculations and education, which the neutral can do more efficiently.


This blog post was created by the Members of the Souhegan Valley Practice Group: Honey Hastings, W. John Dulmage and Anne Parsons.

Collaborative Law and Pre-nuptial Agreements: A Perfect Marriage

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

The typical or “old fashioned” way of preparing pre-nuptial agreements (or “pre-nups”)  involved one party’s attorney drafting and sending it to the other attorney, who reviewed and discussed it with his or her client, and then sent a letter with revisions.  The document continued to be volleyed back and forth until both attorneys found a document they believed their client could live with.  This process was not efficient and often included many unintentional results.  Attorneys, wanting to protect their clients, would include language which the client never mentioned, and perhaps never wanted within the document, which could lead to hurt feelings, misunderstanding, and stress.

Some of the basic tenets of collaborative law match perfectly with pre-nuptial drafting and agreements—there is no option for litigation with a pre-nuptial (performed before the marriage and must be entered into voluntarily), and both processes require a full, voluntary financial disclosure.  The preparation of pre-nuptials can often be difficult and emotional, and it occurs at what is often a stressful time in the couple’s life—they are trying to plan a wedding and make family and friends happy.  Pre-nuptials can cause a couple to face difficult decisions, which can lead to tension and conflict.

The collaborative process is perfect for pre-nuptials.  The couple can meet with collaboratively trained professionals to help them have these challenging discussions about finances and “what if” we divorce questions productively.  If there are emotional blocks to settlement, a coach or mental health professional can assist.  If there are complex financial considerations, a financial professional can be used.  Most importantly, the parties can avoid the back and forth miscommunications by doing a pre-nuptial the “old fashioned” way.



Attorney Jessica L. Ecker is a collaborative divorce lawyer with Weibrecht & Reis Law in Dover and Portsmouth.