What Is Collaborative Law?
In the Collaborative Law process, the parties work with a team of professionals to avoid the arbitrary and uncertain outcomes of court litigation and to achieve a settlement that best meets the specific needs of both parties and their family as a whole. Focusing on settlement, the Collaborative Law process offers a more healthy and effective forum for the resolution issues arising from separation and divorce. The goals of the Collaborative Law process are to help the couple define and implement a settlement that best meets the needs of their family, and to help the parties learn new skills for more effective communication, conflict resolution and post-divorce co-parenting.
In order to accomplish these goals, professionals are available to work together as a team. A Collaborative Team can be any combination of professionals that the parties choose to work with to resolve their issues. The attorneys can help the clients decide which professionals are best suited to their needs. The professionals typically come from three disciplines: legal, mental health and financial.
WHY CHOOSE COLLABORATIVE LAW?
- I want to avoid court and costly litigation
- I want full and open disclosure so I can make informed decisions
- I want a problem-solving approach with experts to support and guide me
- I want to be able to keep control of the process
- I want to focus on meeting the needs of my children
- I want a process that is respectful
- I want a process that is present and future-oriented
- I want a process that addresses the needs, interests, concerns and goals of all members of my family
- I want to get along with my co-parent for the sake of our children
- I want to reach an agreement that feels fair and is durable
There is no process that guarantees a particular outcome. By pledging to reach agreement out of court – a cornerstone of the Collaborative Law process – clients are able to have honest and transparent exchanges of information. In face-to-face discussions, with the guidance of Collaboratively trained attorneys and other professionals, options are developed for each issue needing resolution. Mutually acceptable, durable agreements can be achieved in an atmosphere of fairness and will serve as a strong foundation for co-parenting
Types of Collaborative Law Professionals:
A Collaborative Attorney is a licensed attorney who has been trained in the Collaborative Law process and has developed the skills to encourage the couple explore options through a creative approach to problem solving. Through the collaborative process each party’s collaborative attorney encourages the couple to avoid adversarial techniques or tactics and to complete the divorce with a spirit of cooperation.
A Collaborative Divorce Coach is a licensed mental health professional who has experience in issues related to separation and divorce. The Divorce Coach has training and expertise in family dynamics, communication skills, and training in the Collaborative Law process, and often assists with the development of parenting plans.
The Collaborative Financial Neutral is an impartial financial expert who offers a safe, unbiased environment for partners to provide financial information, speak openly about their financial fears, concerns and ultimate goals, and to help them explore financial settlement options.
The Child Specialist is a licensed mental health professional with extensive training and experience in family systems, child development and the needs of children during and after divorce. The Child Specialist can meet with the children and the parents in an effort to focus on the children’s specific needs and concerns.
Other Allied Professionals
(ex: mortgage broker, realtor, trusts and estates lawyer): Sometimes there is a need to explore the sale of a house, the refinance of a mortgage, or resources for a special needs child. Allied professionals can provide the expertise and information needed to explore the options being considered.
How is a Collaborative Law divorce different from a traditional divorce?
The Collaborative process allows you and your partner, with the support of your Collaborative Law professionals, to reach agreements together on the financial and parenting issues rather than turning those decisions over to the courts.