Collaborative Family Law offers an innovative, alternative approach to divorce litigation for this major life transition. A fundamental premise of the Collaborative Law process is the goal for each party and his/her attorney agree to proceed with honesty and mutual respect.
Our attorneys are trained and experienced collaborative family law practitioners and work routinely with other collaborative law attorneys to get their clients through the divorce process in a cooperative, amicable manner that is sometimes cast aside in traditional litigated divorces.
The Collaborative Process
If you and your spouse choose to pursue a Collaborative Law divorce, you will each have your own attorney. The parties and the attorneys commit to working towards an amicable settlement without going to Court.
The Collaborative Law process involves informal discussions and joint conferences for the purpose of settling all issues. Each party and his/her attorney agree to proceed with honesty and mutual respect. The parties negotiate the terms of their divorce in good faith, acknowledging the need to work together and compromise in order to settle the issues. The parties identify and develop interests and use those interests to help their negotiations.
The parties also agree to make a full and complete disclosure to one another of all relevant information. Collaborative Law utilizes informal discovery, such as the voluntary exchange of financial information, and relies on neutral experts such as tax advisors, financial planners, appraisers, and process facilitators.. The neutral financial professionals work with both parties to prepare a joint inventory of assets and liabilities, obviating the need for the lawyers to duplicate efforts. The communications facilitator helps keep the meetings moving forward in a productive manner.
The Collaborative Divorce process typically entails a series of meetings lasting approximately two hours each (known as “joint meetings”) that have a prepared agenda. In these meetings, the parties gather information, generate options and work together toward a final resolution.
The parties agree at the outset how and from which source the legal fees and other expenses of the divorce will be paid. Because of all of the potential professionals involved, fees for a collaborative divorce may be similar to those of a contested divorce. In a Collaborative Divorce, however, the money is spent crafting a creative, tailored agreement for the family, instead of being spent on burdensome discovery and fighting at the courthouse about financial matters, child custody, and other issues.
Participants in the Collaborative Family Law process only see the inside of a courtroom to formalize the final agreements reached by the parties. The entire process is private. Control remains in the hands of the parties themselves unless and until one or both parties reach an impasse that simply cannot be resolved without court intervention.
In the event the parties fail to settle their issues through the Collaborative Law process and mediation, the collaborative lawyers must withdraw, and new trial counsel must be retained by each party. This component encourages parties to remain in the process. We work hard to help parties decide if Collaborative Law is right for them prior to proceeding collaboratively.