Monday, November 24, 2008

A Marathon Collaborative Success Story

Lawyers Danny Zack and Susan Kurtz of the Collaborative Law Group of the Kootenays are relaxing into the thrill of feeling a job well done. Together they recently assisted a couple to a resolution of all legal issues arising from the breakdown of their marriage, while at the same time, protecting the child from negative effects of the separation, in a marathon collaborative process that took 3 days. Six weeks ago, Danny and Susan agreed to attempt to help these opposing parties come to a resolution in a compressed period of time. The couple had been married for 15 years and the legal issues they faced as a result of uncoupling were not simple. The case involved children, spousal support and property division. One parent wanted to relocate from the Kootenays to Calgary with the children. The other parent was strongly opposed to the idea. One parent wanted spousal support and the other parent did not want to contribute to a perceived voluntary state of unemployment.

Danny Zack flew from his office in Vancouver to Castlegar on a Wednesday to assist this Kootenay couple in a team that included Nelson collaborative lawyer, Susan Kurtz. The first 4-way meeting took place on Wednesday afternoon. After a one hour supper break, the collaborative process resumed on Wednesday evening. The parties and lawyers reconvened on Thursday and Friday for more collaborative sessions. The parties reached mutually agreeable resolutions on all legal issues by Friday. Lawyer Susan Kurtz drafted the Agreement on Friday and the lawyers met on Saturday morning to make revisions to the draft Agreement. On Saturday, the parties signed the formal Separation Agreement, and thereby legal issues from the uncoupling were resolved.

The whole exercise cost each party a fraction of the legal fees it would have cost to resolve these legal issues through the court process. But even better, both parents report that their ability to effectively communicate with each other about their children noticeably improved within 24 hours of reaching a final settlement. Says he, “We haven’t been able to talk like this in a few years. It’s a miracle. I know I made the right choice when I retained a lawyer with the Collaborative Law Group of the Kootenays.”