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How Do I Choose The Best Collaborative Divorce Lawyer For Me (and for my spouse)?

One of the hardest and most important decisions in going through separation and divorce is selecting the right family law attorney for you.

So how do you choose the best lawyer?

The answer likely surrounds knowing yourself, knowing your spouse, and both of your respective goals.

If you are thinking about engaging in collaborative divorce, you have already decided that you value making the important choices involving your family together with your spouse, in an out of court solution-oriented approach, versus having lawyers and/or judges telling you what should happen. You are not looking to gain an advantage or “win” your divorce and instead your goals are likely to find something that is workable for your individual family’s needs. The first step in selecting the best lawyer for your collaborative divorce is to select an attorney who is collaboratively trained and who has experience working with clients in the collaborative divorce process. When selecting the right collaboratively trained divorce lawyer, you should also be mindful of the goals you initially set for the process and select someone who you can connect with and you feel you can trust. The attorney’s goals should mirror your own and you should feel comfortable with their approach in guiding you through the collaborative divorce process.

What if my spouse hasn’t decided on a family lawyer yet? Or worse, what if they selected someone who doesn’t practice Collaborative Divorce Law?

In the event you find yourself interested in the collaborative divorce process, both you and your spouse will need to hire attorneys who are collaboratively trained. Encourage your spouse to visit either the CPNV (Collaborative Professionals of Northern Virginia) website, and/or the VaCP (Virginia Collaborative Professionals) website for a list of collaboratively trained members. Members of these organizations are required to be collaboratively trained and are required to maintain active continuing legal education each year along with other membership requirements. Further, you should ask your lawyer for a list of references of other collaborative attorneys that they would recommend for your spouse based on their personality and the issues involved.

In the event your spouse has already chosen his or her own lawyer and they are not collaboratively trained, you can suggest that they interview separate collaborative counsel to discuss with them the option and benefits of a collaborative divorce. While your spouse may be apprehensive about switching counsel early on, the cost to your family could be much greater if the matter proceeds into divorce litigation.


Just because you and your spouse have decided to engage in the Collaborative Divorce Process, (and you both have selected the best collaborative divorce lawyer for you), doesn’t mean that going through the divorce will be a walk in the park. However, if done right, a collaborative divorce can benefit you and your family in the long run both financially and emotionally.


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