Is Collaborative Law Right For Your Case?
The Collaborative Law process allows parties in a divorce to find resolution of their issues out of court, through nonadversarial negotiation with each party being represented by counsel. It offers the parties a private, wider array of options for resolution, than is available through the court system and often entails a team approach.
If children are involved and custody is at issue, the parties may meet with a neutral mental health professional trained in child development to assist in creating an appropriate parenting plan. Sometimes, there will be additional mental health professionals acting as “coaches,” to assist the parties in forging better communication and to facilitate the collaborative resolution process.
In this process, a written agreement is prepared and filed with the court providing that the attorneys agree to assist their clients in resolving their conflicts using cooperative strategies instead of adversarial techniques and litigation, and further providing that if the parties decide to discontinue the collaborative process, both attorneys and all participating specialists or experts shall be disqualified from participating in subsequent adversarial proceedings.
Both parties and their attorneys commit to full disclosure and mutual cooperation in gathering information necessary to determine the marital estate and the income and expenses of both parties. A neutral, or joint, financial specialist may assist, if necessary. The collaboration process proceeds on a different timetable with parties receiving the benefits of independent representation but outside the court process, thereby reducing both the duration and cost of resolution.