We periodically feature our members (Fellows) to help you learn more about them, Collaborative divorce, and our organization.
Name: Eva Matela Kogut
Profession: Family Law Attorney
What drew you to become a Collaborative Divorce Professional?
I was drawn to Collaborative divorce because it allows for communication building in a situation in which communication is at an all-time low. Everyone is involved and thinking outside of the box to help a couple come up with a plan that works for their family.
In traditional divorces, reality testing or questioning how something will work in practice is not a part of the process. With this method, we test solutions that arise without being confined to the standards set by the courts. Many issues are brought out, and more easily resolved, in this manner.
What do you find rewarding about practicing Collaborative Divorce?
The Collaborative approach assists couples in figuring out strategies that work for them without being defined by the courts, which allows for creative solutions that meet each individual’s goals, needs and interests.
For example, there are certain formulas used to calculate support, but families are not bound to these few statutes as the language allows for deviation. In a traditional divorce case, if one parent wanted to keep the marital residence for a sense of continuity with the kids but the calculations did not work out, this would not be allowed. With a Collaborative divorce, the couple may be able to find a solution that works to include this request and make all parties feel heard.
When you are not hard at work practicing in the Collaborative world what do you do for fun?
I have always loved to travel and am really looking forward to be able to do that again at some point soon! I grew up traveling with my parents frequently and was able to see first-hand how different life is around the world. I was exposed to many different cultures, giving me different lenses and perspectives on many situations.
What tips do you have for couples considering divorce?
I wish more people realized they have a process choice in which they can decide which path to travel in their divorce journey. So many individuals refer back to what they see on TV and quickly hire an attorney, file a case and suddenly someone is being served. But for many people, especially those with children, there are other divorce options that might be better for their family.
How is the Collaborative Process different than litigation or mediation?
The greatest benefit to the Collaborate process approach is that it uses professionals geared toward specific issues, so individuals can make informed choices. Getting the right person to handle particular issues is what collaboration is all about. Financial neutrals, divorce coaches to assist with psychological concerns and even mortgage brokers can be a big part of a whole team approach to developing solutions.