Collaborative Law combines the philosophy of the Mediation process during which the parties are committed to resolving their issues out of court in private sessions and without the threat of litigation, with the full representation of an attorney commonly found in traditional divorce litigation.
What is the Collaborative Process?
The basic goals of the Collaborative process are to ensure a full and open exchange of information, minimizing the negative emotional and economic consequences of divorce, eliminating protracted litigation and having the parties arrive at a fair and equitable agreement that will guide the family in the future.
Each party is represented by independent counsel and issues related to custody, parenting, support and division of assets are discussed and resolved through a series of four-way meetings between the parties and their respective counsel.
The emphasis in a Collaborative process is on the attorneys and the clients working together, rather than against one another, to achieve a satisfactory settlement in an efficient, cooperative manner
The parties and counsel sign a Collaborative Agreement not to litigate or file motions in court.
If the parties reach an impasse, one party threatens litigation or the parties are just unable to reach a settlement, the attorneys must withdraw from the case and the parties are free to retain trial attorneys to pursue their matter in court.
Like Mediation, the parties retain control and power over the process and the outcome, while maintaining a strong commitment not to litigate.
Your Collaborative attorney participates in all sessions to ensure you understand the process and can articulate your concerns, helps explain the issues, discusses your legal rights and together with your spouse and their counsel, arrive at a settlement that best serves the family and your children.
The Collaborative process is based on cooperation, compromise, full and voluntary financial disclosure, and an agreement by both spouses to participate.
Realistic expectations must be discussed and then maintained throughout the process.
The parties are encouraged to share openly and honestly with integrity and respect for the other spouse's feelings, needs and concerns.
As your Collaborative attorney, I will represent you to the best of my ability during each phase of your divorce process. Before you commit to the Collaborative process you need to decide whether you are committed to remaining out of court and whether you understand that the Collaborative Agreement requires the disqualification of your attorney should the parties reach an impasse or one of the parties chooses to litigate.
The key to success is for the parties to begin the process understanding and accepting the reality that concessions are inevitable and no one gets everything they want in the final agreement.
Advantages of Mediation & Collaborative Law Versus Litigation?
CONTROL AND POWER OVER THE OUTCOME: The law is not always clear in a family proceeding and outcomes are never guaranteed. If you want to retain a greater degree of control and influence with a feeling of empowerment as to how things turn out, you are best served through the process of mediation or a collaborative divorce in an atmosphere of cooperation.
REDUCED FINANCIAL AND EMOTIONAL COST: With both parties working together in an amicable fashion, emotional and financial costs are significantly reduced, and the process is streamlined to create an outcome they can both accept rather than one imposed upon them by a judge.
GREATER COMPLIANCE WITH THE TERMS OF THE AGREEMENT: It has been proven that parties have a greater commitment to an agreement reached out of court or through mediation, resulting in less post-divorce litigation and conflict between the parties.