There are lawyers and then there are lawyers. Which one is right for you depends on what type of legal issue you face and how you want to go about facing it. If you need an aggressive criminal defense attorney, hire a pit bull. But if you want a low-stress, amicable Florida divorce, hiring a golden retriever is a far better choice.
If you have ever owned a golden retriever, however, you know that just because (s)he smiles a lot and generally behaves in a laid-back manner does not mean that (s)he is a wimp. (S)he is, in fact, a strong powerful dog who can hold his or her own with anyone and anything and will protect you and your kids to the death. It is to your advantage if your divorce lawyer has similar characteristics.
More and more divorcing couples nowadays seek to end their marriage in a reasonable, respectful and cooperative manner rather than in a stereotypical nasty drawn-out court battle. If you and your spouse share this desire, perhaps the most important thing you can do is hire attorneys who are completely on board with the purpose and goals of collaborative divorce.
What are the purpose and goals? To give you and your spouse the opportunity to maintain control over your own lives by resolving your own differences in a nonthreatening, respectful and cooperative out-of-court setting. The difference between mediation and collaborative divorce, however, is that in the latter, both you and your spouse hire your own attorney to attend the negotiation meetings with you and be right by your side to protect your interests.
Choosing the right attorney
Obviously, not only must you and your spouse cooperate with each other, your respective attorneys also must cooperate with each other. They must be part of the solution, not exacerbate the issues that you and your spouse are attempting to resolve. All four of you must work together.
Always remember that attorneys are people, too. As such, not every attorney is cut out to be a collaborative divorce lawyer. Zealously representing a client does not necessarily equate to militantly representing him or her. The attorney you choose to guide you through the collaborative divorce process should be well aware of the difference and act accordingly.