Collaborative Law and Process
I have been a trained Collaborative Law attorney since 2006.
Collaborative Law and Process is an out-of-court conflict resolution process in which the participants focus their efforts on reaching a mutually acceptable resolution based on a set of principles that significantly changes the dynamics between clients and engages them outside of the courtroom in an open, supportive, lower-conflict process to find shared solutions.
Central tenets of the Collaborative Process include:
- A promise to reach a resolution without court intervention or the threat of court intervention.
- A pledge that if either party seeks court intervention both attorneys must withdraw from representation.
- A promise by all participants to negotiate in good faith by remaining open and flexible, disclosing all pertinent information and using constructive and respectful communication methods.
- An agreement that all communications that occur during, as well as all documents prepared in connection with, the Collaborative Process are inadmissible in any future court proceedings.
In the Collaborative 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 Process offers a more healthy and effective forum for the resolution of a couple’s divorce issues. The goals of the Collaborative Process are to help the couple define and implement the 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. Team professionals typically come from three disciplines: legal, mental health and financial, including
- Separate attorneys, who are schooled in collaborative processes, representing each party;
- Coaches – trained mental health professionals focused on the parties achieve the immediate goal of reaching an agreement rather than determining the core causes of behavior;
- Child Specialists – mental health professionals with experience in child development, family dynamics, and separation and divorce, who functions as an advocate and serves as the voice of the child(ren);
- Financial Specialists – financial planners or accountants who assist the parties in developing viable financial options as they make the transition to two households; and
- Other Professionals – neutral professionals, such as appraisers and valuation experts, to assist with specific tasks that require their unique expertise.