Collaborative Practice is a voluntary dispute resolution process where divorcing parties agree to work together respectfully, honestly, and in good faith to try to reach a mutually agreeable settlement, without going to court. In the Collaborative Process, both parties hire separate, specially trained lawyers to help settle their case in a way that addresses their competing needs and shared interests. If necessary, the parties can also involve other professionals, such as an accountant, financial planner, communications coach, and/or child specialist.
The Collaborative Law process begins with the parties and their attorneys signing an agreement. The agreement sets out the nature and scope of the collaborative process, which typically includes:
- Negotiating in good faith
- Acting respectfully towards one another
- Disclosing all relevant information to the other party
- Using jointly hired neutral experts, if necessary
- Protecting the confidentiality of collaborative communications
While the parties are working in the Collaborative Process, they pledge not to go to court to settle disputes. Either party may stop the Collaborative process at any time. However, if that happens, the collaborative lawyers must withdraw from the case, and cannot represent either party against the other if case ends up in court.
For more information on collaborative law, check out the Resources page.