The traditional adversarial approach to family law and divorce often encourages confrontation, blame and escalation of anger. Many times the personal desires and strong emotions of the individual are emphasized over the long-term best interests of the entire family. Collaborative divorce provides opportunities to preserve family relationships, avoid litigation and keep control over the process through creative negotiations. By consenting to work together, you can create unique, durable and satisfactory agreements regarding all aspects of your divorce, such as parenting and property division.
The collaborative law approach emphasizes attorneys facilitating productive discussions between two people who, while seeking to legally end their marriage, recognize that they have shared interests that need to be addressed during the process. Our goal for our clients is to facilitate cooperation rather than emphasize differences.
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Collaborative Law – An Overview
Collaborative divorce may not be the right approach for every client as they require a willingness by both parties to participate in the process. While the formalities of the traditional adversarial process may be necessary to protect the parties’ interests in some cases, the parties can save themselves time, money and stress if they are willing to work together in the collaborative law process.
Collaborative divorce allows us to explore settlement options and avoid the confrontational dynamics of most divorces. We practice exclusively in the area of family law and matrimonial law.
How does The Collaborative Law Process Work?
The process operates in an environment grounded in good faith, cooperation, integrity, honesty and professional ethics to facilitate the resolution of the parties’ differences without litigation. The parties and their lawyers enter into a Participation Agreement where they agree to work together to achieve a satisfactory settlement in a cooperative manner. The participants agree to voluntarily disclose all relevant information and to cooperatively resolve all issues outside of litigation. Settlement is accomplished through informal discussions, settlement conferences, mediations and other amicable alternatives. The use of experts may be necessary and should be encouraged where their involvement can assist in the collaborative process. Collaborative Family Lawyers work toward settling your case rather than preparing for and conducting a trial, resulting in savings, both financial and emotional, to you and your family.
Goal of Collaborative Divorce
The goal of collaborative divorce is for the divorce to be a win-win situation (if that is at all possible) for both parties. Each party may negotiate for what is most important to them, as opposed to what the State, Judge, or other individual may believe is most important to each party. Collaborative divorce is different from mediation in that mediation is a more adversarial process wherein each party uses bargaining chips to either reach their goal or prevent the other party from receiving what they value most. Collaborative divorce is non (or less) adversarial and, while both parties are feeling the emotional and financial aspects of divorce, the parties are less about blame, guilt, etc., and instead choose to focus on reaching a settlement that is reasonable or acceptable to both parties.
How do I Start a Collaborative Law Process?
Share this information with your spouse and encourage him or her to also hire an attorney who is familiar with and committed to the collaborative law process. The attorneys can then confer and schedule the first four-way meeting to review your situation and sign a participation agreement if the collaborative approach is appropriate for your case.