In Collaborative Practice, the clients and professionals all commit to:
- negotiate a mutually acceptable resolution without having courts decide issues
- maintain open communication and information sharing
- create shared solutions acknowledging the highest priorities of all
Collaborative Lawyers are trained to identify “problems” and to zealously pursue their client’s stated objectives and interests, just like other family law attorneys. However, Collaborative Lawyers have additional training in how to help reach solutions that don’t make one party a “winner” at the expense of making the other a “loser” as oftentimes happens in court.
Clients are usually unaware and surprised to learn that almost all litigation ends in some form of compromise anyway, so Collaborative Law cases capitalize on helping couples reach settlements “earlier rather than later”. Collaborative Attorneys work as part of a team with clients, a communications and parenting Coach/Facilitator, and a Financial Advisor to uncover and implement solutions that work for both parties: on their terms and at their pace.
The Agreement to Collaborate
Collaborative Team members sign and adhere to a written “Participation Agreement” committing to principles of transparency, cooperation, good faith, and mutual respect in resolving the clients’ matters in dispute (whether the issues involve separation, divorce, pre-marital planning, and even post-divorce modification or enforcement). At the core of Collaborative Practice is the requirement that the professionals are not allowed to represent the spouses in any adversarial court proceedings whatsoever: which is one of the main reasons Collaboration is so successful. No one uses even the threat of litigation to gain an advantage in the settlement process.