When is Collaborative Law Right for Me?
Collaborative Process Explained
The Collaborative Process is ideal for spouses seeking an alternative to traditional, court-based approaches to divorce and separation. It’s for individuals who have children together and want to maintain the best possible family relationships, now and in the future. It’s for spouses who recognize that they are the best ones to make their own decisions regarding their family and finances, and not put it in the hands of a third-party judge. And it’s for people who place a high value on taking personal responsibility for handling conflicts with integrity.
1. Getting Started
You and your spouse each hire a specially trained Collaborative Family Lawyer and, if needed, you may also choose to work with collaboratively trained neutral family and/or financial professionals. Adding professionals does not necessarily mean added cost, as the goal is to distribute work between professionals in a coordinated manner. With their support and guidance, you and your spouse work together in a cooperative, non-adversarial fashion.
2. Sign a Participation Agreement
You and your spouse promise in writing to voluntarily disclose all financial and other relevant information, to communicate respectfully, and to act in good faith as you negotiate toward a settlement. There are no threatening letters between lawyers, no affidavits with hurtful accusations, and no stressful court appearances. Better still, by avoiding court, your personal and financial information remains completely private.
3.Conduct Settlement Meetings
Settlement meetings are structured discussions in which you, your spouse, and your lawyers communicate and negotiate directly with one another. This constructive and forward focused meeting – and the whole Collaborative Process in general – is very much a team-based approach to resolving family law disputes. It is often helpful to include other Collaborative professionals, such as family and financial specialists in this meeting. With your team of collaborative professionals, you and your spouse are encouraged to work through your emotions in order to make comprehensive legal, financial, and child-related agreements.
4.Engage in Settlement Talks
In the Collaborative Process, an interest-based problem-solving approach is encouraged and decision-making is solely up to you and your spouse. Your Collaborative Professionals are there to help you prioritize and communicate your most important goals and keep settlement discussions focused on crafting creative and customized solutions, specific to the problems and concerns of both you and your spouse. Because of this, future conflict resolution can become easier to manage and carried out with integrity and respect.
5.Arrive at a Resolution
Once an understanding is reached on all of the issues and both you and your spouse are satisfied with the balance that has been struck, a written agreement is drafted by the lawyers. Once signed by you and your spouse, this becomes your Separation Agreement, which is a binding and enforceable contract.
Book a Consultation
If you answered yes to any of these questions, collaborative family law could be the right decision for you and your spouse. Book an appointment so that we can review the options open to you to work through your family law file.