What is Collaborative Law?

The traditional way of getting a divorce is to involve the court system from the beginning. Each party takes a position as to what he or she wants from the outset.
Then time, money, and emotions ensue to get a result as close to the position taken as possible. Position-taking and the adversarial nature of litigation may cause the parties positions to become even further apart and further away from a settlement.

If the case is tried, results are limited by the options provided by law. The court records of the case are open to the public. By the time the case is over, the parties may have spent a great deal of money on attorneys fees, leaving far less money for each to start a new life, and their relationship with each other may be far worse than it had been before the litigation.

Parents who are unable to cooperate with each other or bear hostility toward one another may damage their children emotionally. Thus, the traditional divorce process can impact negatively on the children of divorce.

Collaborative family law is designed to have couples make an attempt to resolve their legal issues cooperatively and non-adversarially. Options may be greater than the minimum that the law allows. The only lawsuit filed is for an uncontested dissolution of marriage once a settlement has been reached.

So how do you get started in getting a divorce the collaborative way? Your spouse and you would need to agree to have your case handled collaboratively. Each of you retains your own lawyer who is specially trained in the principles of collaborative family law and is a member of a collaborative family law practice group. Your spouse, you, and both of your attorneys meet in a series of conferences and make mutually agreed-upon decisions concerning your case.