Ed Heaton stresses the importance of asking questions in collaborative family law in his blog post, ‘Be Curious’, for the website Brighter Futures. Ed is a committee member and the treasurer for Collaborative Family Law North, which is a group of collaborative family law professionals from across the north of England tasked with raising awareness of the collaborative family law process.
“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” Ten points to anyone who knows who said that…for everyone else – Albert Einstein. On the basis of this quote, I think Einstein might have made an excellent collaborative family lawyer, had the process been around when he was alive…
It is quite simple. If you want information, ask questions. The more information you have in the collaborative process, the better equipped you are to help your respective clients reach the agreement that they are looking for.
Even the most innocuous questions can give you insightful information about your client, their circumstances, their approach to life, their priorities and how they feel about their former partner and their separation.
Making time to get to know your client – and a bit more about their former partner – so that you properly understand what makes them tick and what is important to them (as a couple, a family and individually) will help you figure out how you’re going to help them achieve an outcome that works for everyone.
After all, being curious is probably what got most of us here in the first place. I know that, for many of us, having experienced the court process, being – or seeing others – bruised by it and wanting to find a better way is what drew us towards the collaborative process. By maintaining curiosity and continuing to strive to find better solutions, it can only assist our clients and help them to move on with their lives.
My advice? Stay curious. You never know where it will take you.
This article first appeared on the Brighter Future website, part of CFL North and can be viewed here.
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