Collaborative law is an alternative to the traditional adversarial approach to family law that enables separating or divorcing parties to create their own settlement out-of-court. Each party retains a specially trained Collaborative Lawyer and both sides work together in cooperation to come to a mutually agreeable settlement. Collaborative law can be utilized in a variety of situations, including divorce, common law separation, negotiation of cohabitation agreements and pre-nuptial agreements.
Collaborative divorce involves both parties and lawyers promising to voluntarily disclose all relevant information and to negotiate in good faith. With face-to-face negotiation as the focal point, collaborative divorce allows for not only a consideration of the law but also consider the parties objectives for the future. This helps parties and their family members to transition through the separation and divorce process in a manner most likely to reduce the stress and financial burden of the traditional divorce. This process is also a good alternative for those parties who wish to limit the personal or financial information available in the public court record. Once all issues have been resolved, the Collaborative lawyers ensure that the agreement is drafted, and any court documents are prepared. If settlement cannot be reached, each party must retain a new lawyer for litigation. This requirement serves as motivation to reach an agreement out of court.