Collaborative Law

Practice Area > Collaborative Law

In contrast to traditional litigation that inevitably leads to hurt feelings and destroyed families well after litigation has concluded, the collaborative law process seeks to preserve the family relationship long term by establishing common goals and interests of individual families.

The essence of the Collaborative Process is the shared belief that it is in the family’s best interests to commit to a non-litigation process. It is a non-adversarial dispute resolution process and relies on cooperation, integrity, and professionalism geared toward the future well-being of the family.

The Collaborative Law Process is a clearly-defined team approach that takes place in a confidential and private environment. The team consists of you and your spouse, each of your attorneys, a mental health neutral, and a financial neutral. The key to these negotiations is that all persons present — each spouse and his or her attorney — are free to (and in fact are expected to) participate in a positive and open discussion that has an agreeable resolution as its ultimate goal.

Although individual circumstances will vary, collaborative law may provide a quicker and less expensive method of resolving a dispute when compared with traditional family law litigation. Ordinarily, both spouses and their attorneys sign a “no court” or similar collaborative agreement setting the ground rules and that requires the attorneys to withdraw from the case if a settlement is not reached and the case goes to court.

The chart below highlights the differences between a Collaborative and Litigated Divorce.

Who controls the process?
Ultimately, the Judge controls the process and makes final decisions. You and your spouse control the process and make final decisions.
Participation in the process
Mandatory if no agreement Voluntary
Court Involvement
Court-based Outside of Court
The Court sets the timetable and sets deadlines; often long delays. You and your spouse create the timetable and establish internal deadlines.
Degree of Adversity
The process is adversarial in nature. Transparency can be a disadvantage. The process is based on mutual respect and integrity. Parties work together with neutrals in seeking what’s best for the family. Transparency between the parties is paramount.
Involvement of Attorneys
Your attorney seeks to win while the other side loses. Your Attorney works toward a mutually created settlement while still preserving your best interest.
Use of Outside Experts
If necessary, each party will retain their own expert to support their respective position, often at great expense. The parties jointly retain specialists and experts to provide information and guidance for mutually beneficial solutions.
Case is a matter of public record and non-confidential. Case is generally kept confidential.
Costs are manageable, predictable, and often apportioned by the parties. Costs are unpredictable and often escalate quickly.

The collaborative process is designed to be less stressful and is intended to keep the children free from the conflict inherent in the litigation process.

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