This is the seventh step of a series of 12 steps that explains in detail how the Collaborative Law Process works. Click here for the previous step.
Now that the participants have selected the Collaborative Process, the Professionals will usually have a pre-meeting to discuss the case, any issues that may have arisen since the last meeting, and the agenda for the 1st meeting.
The Attorneys, with or without the mental health coaches, will discuss the case. The discussions will cover any issues that the either participant has addressed with their professionals. If there are mental health coaches involved, it is especially helpful to have them part of the professional pre-meeting. The mental health coaches will have spoken with the participants prior to this meeting and will have more information regarding concerns or issues that the participants may have, that the participants may not feel comfortable telling their attorneys at the beginning of the case. The participants will be told throughout the process that whatever they say to any of their professionals might be shared with the other team members.
During the professional pre-meeting, the coaches and attorneys will discuss any issues or concerns that the participants may have with the other participant, or the process. The professionals will discuss whether financial neutrals or child specialists will be needed in this case, if they are not already retained in the case. Depending on the participants financial situation the professionals may decide that using a financial neutral or child specialists will be agreed upon during the meeting and agreed upon by all team members.
The professionals will discuss the agenda, the location, and the time for the first team meeting. The agenda will be passed to all members prior to the first meeting so everyone is aware of what will be covered. The professionals will also discuss the roles that each will take during the first team meeting. Oftentimes one of the professionals will be the note-taker and this person will prepare the team minutes after the professional pre-meeting. Some of the other professionals will read through the Participation Agreement and other will take the lead while moving through the agenda.
The agenda will typically cover the signing of the participation agreement, the participants discussing any issues or concerns, financial issues, homework, and times and dates for the next meeting. Meetings will normally cover two (2) hours, but some matters may be pushed to the next meeting.