In Collaborative Divorce, and other disputes, Collaborative Law (also called Collaborative Practice), the parties work with attorneys and other trained professionals to reach an Agreement without going to court, except to obtain the final approval by a judge.
Using a collaborative divorce lawyer offers many distinct advantages over a traditional divorce litigator:
- You keep control of the process yourselves, without going to court
- Children’s needs are given priority
- All parties commit to reaching agreement through a problem-solving approach
- An atmosphere of respect preserves self esteem
- Open communication allows everyone to express needs for moving forward and provides new tools for effective problem-solving in the future
- There is full disclosure of relevant facts and all financial information
- The process is confidential
- Each party has his or her own Collaboratively trained attorney advocate to advise and guide them through the process.
- A Collaboratively trained neutral facilitator or coach is an important part of the team and works with the parties both individually and with the attorneys to assist the parties in working through the negotiations.
Face-to-face meetings in the presence of lawyers make negotiations direct and efficient and allow for mutually created resolutions.
Collaborative Law vs. Litigation
Collaborative Law is distinguished from traditional litigation by its core elements. These elements are set out in writing among the clients and their chosen collaborative professionals to:
- Negotiate a mutually acceptable settlement without court to decide any issues for the clients. The parties pledge in writing not to go to court except for a final hearing and agree to withdrawal of the professionals if either client goes to court
- Engage in open communication and information sharing and face-to-face discussions between the parties and their lawyers which lead to an agreement
- Create shared solutions that take into account the highest priorities of both clients. This respectful, problem-solving approach, often with the assistance of trained financial experts, child specialists and divorce coaches/facilitators, replaces the often adversarial process of conventional divorce.
To determine if Collaborative Law is right for you, ask yourself if it is important to:
- Work creatively and cooperatively to solve issues
- Keep control of the divorce process with you and your spouse, and not relegate it to the court system
For more information, see our Collaborative Law Resources in the right sidebar or contact us!