Collaborative Family Law
The collaborative law process is an alternative to traditional litigation, and can be a method through which issues such as parenting arrangements, child and spousal support, possession of the matrimonial home and the division of property are resolved.
In the collaborative law process, each party retains their own lawyer who is specifically trained to utilize the collaborative law method to help them reach a resolution to their dispute. The parties and their lawyers, in turn, contract together to work together to resolve the dispute in a respectful manner, to not utilize common litigation-type tactics such as threats of court, and to fully disclose all documents and information related to the issues.
Unlike other types of legal practice, in collaborative law the lawyers are specifically hired for this one task. In fact, if the parties are unable to reach a resolution or the process otherwise fails, the collaborative process is at an end and the parties must hire new lawyers to represent them. This means that the lawyers are just as committed to the settlement of the dispute as the parties are.
A fundamental component of the collaborative law approach is the use of four-way meetings, with both parties and their respective lawyers present. An agenda is prepared in advance of each of these meetings and the parties meet with their lawyer prior to each meeting to prepare. Often there is opportunity during the meeting for the parties to meet separately with their lawyer if needed before continuing on. At the end of each meeting, homework is often assigned for completion before the next meeting. These meetings continue until all issues have been resolved and an agreement has been reached.
Collaborative law isn’t suitable for every family situation. However, should you be interested in obtaining more information about collaboration and how it can work for you, please contact a member of our team.