Collaborative Law

Collaborative law or collaborative divorce refers to a process to resolve family law conflicts in a respectful, non-adversarial, and mutually-beneficial manner. This collaborative approach has been successfully utilized in many other areas of the law, such as business, probate, and other civil proceedings.

The movement toward collaborative divorce has taken root throughout the country and here in California, as the costs of litigation have mounted and the state’s resources with which to fund our court system have become increasingly strained.

The parties in a collaborative divorce agree to work cooperatively to resolve their issues. They sign an agreement that they will not litigate the matter. In the event that a party later chooses to litigate, that party must hire a new attorney and cannot continue to use the collaborative specialist.

Collaborative attorneys are specialists in settling disputes. They must undergo specific training in order to properly assist parties with a collaborative approach. Often, in the context of a collaborative divorce, the parties will employ a “team” of multi-disciplinary experts who work interactively with the parties and their attorneys. Such experts usually involve a financial specialist, various coaches, and a child specialist or mental health professional. These experts all subscribe to the core values and beliefs that are the hallmark of the collaborative process and all team members are obligated to withdraw from a case in the event that a case ends up in litigation.

As with mediation, the benefits to the parties are many. The parties retain maximum control over the outcome of their case, as opposed to turning over the decision-making to a judge who does not have intimate knowledge of that particular family.

The parties, through their collaborative attorneys agree to voluntarily provide necessary documents and information early in the process which serves to drastically reduce the cost of the formal discovery that is often a hallmark of litigated divorces. Full disclosure and open communication at every stage of the collaborative process facilitates a faster and, oftentimes, more satisfying resolution than if the matter had been litigated in court.

The collaborative approach to a divorce or other family law proceeding minimizes the hostility and the emotional toll that is often inflicted on the participants in a litigated dispute. When assessing the “cost” of a disputed family law proceeding, the emotional cost is often overlooked, but in reality, it can exact a more long-term, negative effect on a family than the actual dollars and cents expended.

The collaborative divorce process is a respectful, peaceful, and dignified process that is designed to ensure that the participants and their children successfully transition to the next chapter of their lives.

As with all family law matters, it is wise to select a Certified Family Law Specialist who practices in the area of family law dispute resolution to ensure that the participant has the benefit of both the practitioner’s substantive knowledge in the area of family law, as well as the skills necessary to successfully resolve what are often difficult and emotionally-driven disputes.

Contact our team of dedicated divorce lawyers today to learn more alternative dispute resolution. We can help you decide whether collaborative law is appropriate for your divorce scenario.

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