Collaborative law is similar to mediation in that it is a way for parties to resolve their separation terms or divorce outside of court. Collaborative practice allows more support for the parties than what the neutral mediator can provide.
How it Works
As part of the collaborative law process, both parties sign an agreement stating they do not intend to go to court and agree to hire new attorneys if the process breaks down. This provides a tremendous incentive to stay at the table, even when the conversation gets hard.
Sometimes other professionals such as child specialists, financial neutrals, or mediators, will be part of the collaborative team.
Collaborative law may be right for you if…
You have difficulty expressing yourself in the presence of the other party
There is a power imbalance
You feel more comfortable having an advocate in the room with you
Frequently Asked Questions
In what capacity do you advocate for the best settlement for your client?
For collaborative divorces, my role is to advocate for my client in pursuit of their stated interests and goals. Faithful representation to my client includes informing them about the law and its application to their matter, and assisting the client in developing approaches to resolve the dispute without the need to resort to adversarial proceedings.
I feel like my spouse will try to take financial advantage of me – how can you help reduce the risk of this happening?
Your spouse may be inclined to hide assets during the divorce for fear of an unfair outcome in the end. It is possible to reach an outcome that is fair to both spouses, and this can minimize any dishonest inclinations your spouse has. You and your spouse will have to fully disclose your financials even if you don’t litigate in court. Both you and your spouse will have to sign a participation agreement stating that you agree to open and honest dealings. You will have to provide various financial documents so nothing is omitted.
When are other professionals needed to help in the process?
Sometimes we bring in other professionals to ensure that each party has the right amount of support and information needed to make good decisions.
- Divorce coaches – guide people going through divorce to help them make the best possible decisions for their future, based on their particular interests, needs, and concerns;
- Financial neutrals – these Certified Divorce Financial Planners gather all of the pertinent financial information and help you and your partner come up with a financial roadmap for your future;
- Child specialists – therapists with experience and training in working with children to help you and your partner best understand your child’s needs, and to come up with a plan to meet those needs.