What is Collaborative Family Law?
Collaborative Family Law is a dispute resolution process that is closely related to “co-mediation”. Each party is represented by a lawyer. The lawyer represents his or her client and provides the client with advice as in any solicitor-client relationship. The parties and their lawyers get together in a series of four-way meetings to work together to resolve the issues in dispute. Prior to the first meeting, the parties and their lawyers sign a contract stating that they will not to go to court. The focus for the entire process is to negotiate a mutually agreeable settlement of every issue.
Collaborative Family Law has similar benefits to mediation, but the process is different: during the four-way meetings the lawyers act as facilitators, similar to co-mediators. The benefits of Collaborative Family Law include:
Respectful Process and Better Decisions
As in Mediation, the collaborative process focuses on respectful and principled negotiations. Open and frank discussions in a controlled setting are encouraged. People make better decisions for themselves when they understand each other’s feelings and concerns.
An effective solution will stand the test of time. A solution that is developed through a respectful process with an increased understanding of each other’s concerns will provide a strong foundation for future cooperation.
Efficient and Cost Effective
With the assistance of their lawyers, the parties negotiate directly in four-way meetings. The parties will agree to full disclosure of information and documentation relating to the issues in dispute so that everything is transparent. The parties can ask questions and seek clarification. Direct communication saves time and money.