Collaborative Law, also known as Collaborative Practice, is a refreshing alternative dispute resolution process where divorce and custody cases are resolved without litigation and direct court involvement. This process enables couples who have decided to end their marriage/relationship to work with specially trained lawyers to avoid the sometimes difficult and uncertain outcome of litigation, and to achieve a durable settlement that best meets the specific needs of the parties and their children without the underlying threat of litigation.
The collaborative divorce process strives to reach agreement that benefit the entire family, often reducing the conflict, expense and emotional strain of traditional family law litigation. The process is generally client driven, where attorneys help their clients identify goals and help them resolve disagreements using a creative, interest-based, problem solving approach, rather than “fight and win” litigation.
Each party in a Collaborative Law case still hires their own attorney specially trained in mediation and interest-based negotiation. Negotiations are typically done in a setting with both parties and their attorneys in the same room, with private attorney/client meetings, and the help of other professionals, as needed. Both parties and their attorneys sign a “no court” retainer agreement that directs the attorneys to withdraw from continued representation if a case does need to be litigated in court. The parties and their attorney also sign a “participation agreement” where they agree to certain guidelines designed to achieve a respectful, dignified, transparent and fair settlement of all issues.
A very high percentage of Collaborative Law cases are resolved without ever having to go to court. If you would like additional information about the advantages and disadvantages of the Collaborative Law process, please ask our attorneys about this service option. You can also go to www.collaborativepractice.com for more information about the Collaborative Law process.