You are facing divorce. This may be one of the biggest challenges you will ever go through. You are trying to chart a new course for your whole life, while simultaneously engaging in an emotional and legal struggle with the person who used to be your life’s partner.
Because of the often-intense stresses of divorce, you may not be at your peak ability to make important decisions or consider long-term consequences and goals as you go through it. Like many others, you may enter divorce with minimal knowledge of the law, your rights, and obligations, or the ins and outs of navigating the legal system. For these and other reasons, you could potentially be vulnerable to bad advice,unskillful or even unscrupulous professionals.
What you need instead is a representative who has the knowledge and experience to guide you skillfully; has the maturity to remain objective and stay grounded in reality; and has the integrity to tell you the truth.
With all of this in mind, we’d like offer the following comparison of the conventional and conscious lawyer.
The Conventional Lawyer
When spouses each consult with and hire conventional lawyers, often the lawyers end up fueling the fire of fear. Conventional lawyers may be well-intentioned, but their training is so focused on litigation, they barely think about creative options to solve disagreements. They start preparing for courtroom war, from day one.
Working with a conventional lawyer, sometimes a person will come to truly believe he needs to hurt his ex-spouse, for justice to be served. Or she will become convinced that he will never be reasonable until a judge throws the book at him.
Even in extreme cases, settlement often occurs. But sometimes not until the eve of trial, after a lot of money has been spent, and feelings of hatred between the spouses (usually people who are trying to function as parents at the same time) have been stoked.
In some cases, the parties can’t reach a settlement, and they and their lawyers go in front of the judge to determine the outcome of parenting and financial issues. The sad irony here is that a settlement -- had it been reached at any time -- probably would have looked fairly similar to the judge’s ruling, but with much less expense and emotional damage; and without the complete loss of your and your ex-spouse’s ability to make your own decisions about how to transition out of marriage and into co-parenting.
The Difference of a Conscious Lawyer
One major difference that results from hiring a conscious lawyer, is that conscious lawyers are working hardest when they are trying to settle your case. Conscious lawyers reach mature resolution of issues, and settle more cases. Lawyers who simply rely on their law school training take every issue to Mommy and Daddy Judge.
A conventional lawyer isn’t doing a better job for his client by being “a bulldog.” Being a bulldog often means doing real harm to a family system. Conscious lawyers don’t go in guns blazing, destroying any hope of co-parenting after the divorce is done.
Conscious lawyers don’t avoid or fear conflict, nor do they cave in to pressure from bulldog attorneys. A conscious lawyer is applying judo moves to find a mature resolution even in the face of a bulldog. The conscious lawyer’s maturity and wisdom finds the right move to get past the obstacles and reach a conclusion that works.
In the courtroom? Judges can feel the integrity of a conscious lawyer, and they know what to expect from the bulldog. Integrity carries the day every time, because the conscious lawyer won’t even try to bring frivolous arguments in front of the judge.
Divorce is full of tough decisions and delicate issues. Conventional lawyers and Conscious lawyers are often doing completely different things for you, that will have impacts on your life long after the divorce is over.
Be careful who you hire as your attorney.
For more, take a look at this infographic illustrating how conscious lawyers are different.
John Hoelle and Peter Fabish are co-founders of Conscious Family Law & Mediation LLC, offering collaborative divorce mediation, or legal representation with strength and integrity, in metro Denver/Boulder, Colorado.