Northington Blog

PlanForComfort: Meet Jocelyn Stotts, Divorce Lawyer, Little Rock, Arkansas

OPT_StottsJocelyn_2147218747webpicJASAs a Certified Divorce Financial Planner, I was so excited to be able to interview my friend, trusted referral partner Jocelyn Stotts, Attorney at Kamps & Stotts, PLLC located right here in Little Rock, Arkansas.   Jocelyn is a specialty trained Collaborative Divorce Attorney who in partnership with Mental Health, & Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® like myself to educate, support and guide divorcing couples in reaching balanced, respectful and lasting agreements. Alternative dispute resolution processes like Collaborative Law and Mediation are trending in the United States because they offer a safe and dignified environment to reduce the conflict and minimize its impact on you, your children, your family and your life.  Welcome to our Blog, “PlanForComfort”, Jocelyn, I am so glad to have you as our guest today.

 

Stephen: Jocelyn, tell our readers something about you that isn’t related to your legal practice?

 

Jocelyn: I grew up on a cattle ranch with my three siblings, so I definitely know the value of hard work how to get along and share, and how to look at peculiar problems from a lot of different angles to figure out how to make something work.  As an adult, I enjoy spending time with family, helping with chores on my parents’ goat farm in southwest Arkansas, and watching my dog Sawyer to run amuck.  He has such great herding instincts that he can corral the chickens in their coups every evening within minutes.

 

Stephen:   Jocelyn, Why are you passionate about the Collaborative Divorce Process as a means of unwinding marriages here in Arkansas?

 

Jocelyn: The collaborative process allows uncoupling without the expenses of formal discovery and contentious litigation.  Instead, couples voluntarily provide full disclosure of assets and debts and are able to have an informed discussion about their overall goals given their unique circumstances.  In other forms of alternative dispute resolution, parties and their attorneys often posture and talk about what a judge may order.  In the collaborative process, we talk about goals such as when each party wants to retire, where each parent wants the children to attend school, how to transition to new households and schedules, and what parents are committed to doing for their children post-majority to help them launch into adulthood because let’s face it – reaching age eighteen does not mean a child is ready to take on the world without financial and emotional support from parents.  These are all issues that are not addressed in litigation, and most of the time, these are the most important things to both parties.  In every collaborative case in which I have participated, I have found couples are able to treat each other with dignity and respect not only in the process but after the case is finalized, and the cases have been truly finalized without any ongoing post-decree litigation.

 

Stephen: Privacy is such a critical component of any marriage that is going through a divorce.  How does the Collaborative Divorce Process help deliver this for high net worth clients and for those who hold positions in the public eye?

 

Jocelyn: First, when couples enter the collaborative process, they agree not to file a complaint until there is a final agreement.  This means that the names are not in the paper and friends and family are not calling to interject in the situation until the situation has been resolved.  Second, this is a private process, so the only documents to be filed with the Court is a generic complaint, an answer or waiver, the decree and agreement.  Sensitive documents and information are not being made part of the court record, and witnesses are not being questioned about what information they may or may not have on certain matters.  Third, the parties use joint neutrals as needed to value property interests, and this is where you can come in to help the parties determine the highest and best use of assets and how to divide resources in such a

way to render the greatest benefit to both parties rather than taking the proverbial ax to the marital estate regardless of whether it makes financial sense or not.

 

Stephen: Jocelyn, if there are children involved in a marriage that is ending, how does the Collaborative Divorce process help protect them and help them function as a Mom & Dad beyond the date on their divorce decree.

 

Jocelyn: As I mentioned above, the collaborative process allows parents to work through the process before friends, neighbors, family and sometimes even their children know that the divorce is inevitable.   Parents love their children dearly, and they have a deep desire to protect them.  Parents work through the process of talking about who will take on what roles and responsibilities and how to finance the children’s education, activities and lifestyle.  They are able to get on the same page about rules and expectations and also logistics about how to pay for those major expenses like private school tuition, cars and auto insurance, cell phones, extracurricular activities and camps, senior year expenses and college expenses – all expenses that are not addressed in litigation. Parents can reach a final agreement before sitting down the children to let them know of the divorce and to answer their questions about where they will live, when they will see each parent, where they will go to school and so many other questions that are so important to them.  While the parents may still have the period of limbo while they are working through the process, the children do not have to go through this time of uncertainty with them.  This protects the children more than most of us can imagine.

 

Stephen: We always like to give our readers one or two ideas that can impact their lives.  Jocelyn, what advice would you give a couple here in Arkansas, who is thinking about divorce?  And who desires to have the best possible outcome for them and their families.

 

Jocelyn: Divorce is not only one of the greatest loses second to the death of a loved one, but it is also an emotional time of hurt and uncertainty.  The collaborative process reduces the anxiety and places control of the outcome in the hands of both persons to allow them to determine the best outcome for them and their families.  I truly believe the collaborative process is the way to not only have civility and respect for each other through the pendency of the divorce but also a way to foster it for a lifetime.

 

Until next time, we’re Northington Investment Group, the place to be to get educated, to feel empowered and to create a life where Divorce clients start to feel financial comfort again.  http://planforcomfort.com.  To contact Attorney Jocelyn Stotts, visit her website at http://www.kslawpllc.com/attorneys.html

 

 

 

Legal advice not provided through Northington Investment Group. Please discuss your specific situation with a qualified legal advisor.