The Collaborative Law process is a positive alternative to the traditional litigation method of handling legal disputes. In the Collaborative Law process, the parties and their attorneys commit in writing to remove their dispute from litigation and to negotiate together in good faith to reach an amicable resolution. Through a series of joint meetings, the parties and their attorneys work together using creative problem-solving strategies and interest-based negotiation to reach the best possible outcome for all parties. Thus, in the Collaborative Law process, the parties control the result rather than turning over the decision-making to a judge or jury. In the Collaborative Law process, litigation is truly the last resort.
The Collaborative Law process is a relatively new idea in family law that provides a unique environment for settling disputes. The Collaborative Law process is not a combative one, but is designed to encourage the open and honest discussion of the issues. The Collaborative Law process is done outside of the courthouse in a dignified and private manner. The process uses a team approach with the team being made up of individuals specifically selected for your family’s needs. The team has the sole purpose of finding solutions to your dispute.
Collaboration is not mediation. With collaborative law, settlement of disputes is the goal from the very beginning of the case. With mediation, you must go through traditional litigation, and then attend mediation toward the end of the case. As a result, with mediation, you have already gone through the pain and stress of traditional litigation.
The Collaborative Law process focuses everyone on settlement from the beginning, without experiencing the trauma of litigation. As a result, agreements reached through collaboration lead to better communication and more positive long-term relationships.
If you are faced with a family law dispute, I strongly encourage you to consider the Collaborative Law process. I have provided you with additional information about Collaborative Law on my resources page to help educate you on this exciting dispute resolution process. Additionally, please view this PDF to compare the collaborative process with the litigation process.