I am proud to be the co-chair of a Pro-Bono project in Broward County. Created by Collaborative Attorney Nancy Brodzki and Judge Gundersen, the project has infused new life, enthusiasm, and excitement into our collaborative community. This pilot project offers the benefits of Collaborative divorce to low income families without lawyers and provides local Collaborative professionals the opportunity to put their new collaborative skills into practice and to (net)work with like-minded professionals.
Judge Gundersen schedules time at case management conferences for Attorney Brodzki to explain Collaborative process to pro-se litigants. The clients who are provided this opportunity must:
- Not have attorneys;
- Have children,
- Not have a history of criminal convictions, domestic violence, or any open dependency cases.
My job is to gather volunteers from our local collaborative community–attorneys, neutral facilitators and neutral financial professionals–who are assigned to teams.
There have been five rounds of cases. The enthusiastic feedback from the professional teams has led us to new protocols to enhance the process. We now emphasize with clients the need for them to respect the professionals’ time and cooperate timely with providing information and completing homework. We have a questionnaire that clients have to complete prior to signing onto the program. The questionnaire assesses the clients’ level of trust, willingness to cooperate with each other and the process, willingness to be transparent and honest, history of DV, attitudes towards litigation, perceived benefit of the collaborative process, and their openness to professional guidance.
I expect we will continue to review and changes our protocols as we gain more experience. I hope this project will continue to promote Collaborative Divorce and continue to generate excitement and enthusiasm among the professionals who volunteer their time to gain invaluable experience.
Tammy Berman, LMHC
My Counseling Connections Inc.
817 S University Dr Suite # 121 | Plantation, FL 33324