Collaborative Law

What is Collaborative Practice?

Collaborative Practice is a productive, efficient process used to resolve family and other disputes respectfully and equitably without going to court. Each person retains his or her own attorney who has been specially trained in the collaborative law process to advise and assist in negotiating an agreement. The negotiations take place out of court in a series of meetings. Other professionals working on behalf of the clients may include divorce coaches, a neutral financial specialist, and a child specialist. Cooperative strategies are used with settlement as the only option from the beginning of the case. The goal is to help individuals to focus on what is most important to them.

The lawyers are committed to settlement and make a pledge not to go to court and not to threaten litigation. If the clients go to court the lawyers are disqualified.

In a collaborative process, the parties control the outcome as opposed to litigation where a judge decides. An agreement is created that is custom designed to meet the needs of the specific couple and family. The idea is to look for win-win solutions that maintain family ties and minimize emotional impact. There is full disclosure of all information necessary to make well reasoned decisions.

Is Collaborative Practice less expensive than litigation?

Each case is unique. The value of Collaborative Practice is that its long term benefits are frequently superior. The following considerations are important in determining the cost of collaborative law representation:

  1. the complexity of the issues;
  2. the number of issues;
  3. the extent to which the parties are able to work together in a constructive manner;
  4. the hourly rate of the attorney;
  5. expert fees – appraisals, accountancy fees, inter-disciplinary collaborative team fees etc.

Collaborative Practice is not more expensive than litigation. Unlike litigation, the clients are not paying for time they don’t control. The process is designed to maximize outcomes and cost effectiveness.

Why might collaborative be right for me?

In collaborative law, the sole purpose of the lawyer’s retention is to reach an agreement that meets the legitimate needs of both parties and their children. This process is very attractive to clients who want reasonable and practical solutions.

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