I appreciate what you did for me. I realize that your job as a lawyer may often be thankless and hard, but the level of patience and level headedness that you have shown me was commendable and your guidance was appreciated, also. ….I am at more peace with my life because of the collaborative process and I believe that my kids reap the benefits as well of me being more than just an every other weekend dad. All made possible through the process. – BS
Collaborative law is a process for people who desire a divorce with dignity and respect and wish to avoid a contentious battle.
In collaborative family law, each party hires a trained and certified collaborative attorney to serve as legal advisors and settlement specialists. The parties and attorneys work together in a cooperative, non-adversarial process with a mutual goal of reaching a fair settlement of all issues. This process encourages creative problem solving, win-win negotiations, and resolutions that meet the needs of all members of the family.
What Does the Process Look Like?
The parties are directly involved in the process and retain control over the outcome. The parties and attorneys communicate and negotiate directly with one another in structured four-way settlement meetings. Binding commitments are made by both parties and their respective attorneys to voluntarily disclose all financial and other relevant information, to proceed respectfully and in good faith in settlement negotiations, and to refrain from the threat or use of litigation. The parties agree that they will not go to court and if anyone wants to do so, both collaborative attorneys would be disqualified and must withdraw, and both parties would need to retain new attorneys to represent them if they wish to be represented in court.
Role of Experts
If required to facilitate the process, experts are brought in as neutrals who are jointly retained by the parties. In addition, collaborative divorce may involve a team approach: possible team members include financial advisors and mental health professionals who can serve as coaches to help the parties effectively participate in the process, and financial specialists to assist with financial issues.
Potential advantages of Collaborative Family Law include:
The process is designed to minimize hostility and negative conflict, and to instead refocus the parties on constructive, mutually satisfactory methods of arriving at outcomes.This is a significant benefit to the parties’ children, since research has shown that conflict and hostility between parents, an almost inevitable consequence of adversarial litigation, is significantly damaging to children.
A significant increase in the likelihood that parties to a family law dispute can resolve the dispute while preserving a positive relationship.This can be quite valuable when there will be a need to maintain a co-parenting relationship with the other party and/or when preserving as positive a relationship as possible is important based on a party’s values.
The attorneys involved have specialized training in family law dispute resolution and will not create or worsen conflict.