Keeping Family Disputes Respectful
What is collaborative family law?
Collaborative Family Law is a process where everyone agrees to work together to create positive, fair, mutually agreed solutions for resolving disputes arising from the breakdown of a relationship.
Essential to the process is a formal agreement between the parties and their lawyers that, while seeking resolution through the Collaborative Family Law process, the parties will not go to court.
How It Works
Each party retains his or her own specially-trained lawyer and divorce coach, child care specialist, or financial advisor, if desired and appropriate. The parties and their lawyers attend 4-way meetings and work together to reach a resolution.
Prior to beginning any discussion, both parties sign a Participation Agreement which sets out the way the teams will operate. This agreement deals with:
- disclosure of all relevant documents
- agreement not to go to court
- the method to achieve open, free-flowing and safe communication during the process
Is Collaborative Family Law for you?
If you answer "yes" to most of the questions below, then Collaborative Family Law may work for you.
- Do you want to keep control over the proceedings of your separation?
- Are you concerned about the cost of court?
- Do you want to have ownership over formulating your own solutions to the problems you both have identified?
- Do you feel you are willing to try working cooperatively with your spouse or partner?
- Are you open to creative and individual solutions that fit your situation?
- Do you want a flexible, informal and private process to resolve your disputes?
- Are you committed to full disclosure of financial and other relevant information to your lawyer and to each other?
- Do you want neutral information about how the financial decisions you are making may impact you in the future?
- Will you be committed to keeping confidential what is discussed in the four-way meetings?
- Do you recognize that you and your spouse or partner have not been able to resolve the disputes on your own?
- Are you willing to learn new ways to communicate with your spouse or partner?
- If you have children together, are you both committed to making their future a priority?
- Do you want neutral information about parenting plans that are best for your children?
- Do you want to minimize the uncertainty, emotional pain and damage of separation - for yourselves and for your children?
- Do you want to make a smoother transition to the next phase of your life?
- Do you feel safe negotiating in the same room with your spouse?
When you make the decision to move forward with the Collaborative process, the next step is for each of you to independently contact one of the Collaborative Family Law professionals listed on the contact page.