Collaborative Practice, also called Collaborative Divorce, or the Collaborative Law Model, is an alternative to traditional litigation that was developed in the 1980s. The key differences between traditional litigation and Collaborative Practice are:

•    The parties sign a written pledge that they will not file suit against one another in court and that both attorneys will withdraw from the case if either party litigates.
•    The parties agree to a free and open exchange of information without the necessity of formal requests for production and other discovery tools.
•    The professionals involved commit to using their best skills to assist the parties in reaching agreement without having to resort to judicial decision-making.
•    The parties commit to respecting both parties’ shared goals throughout the process.
Each party involved must be represented by an attorney trained in the Collaborative Process. However, in addition to attorneys, other professionals can be added to the team when their area of expertise is needed. Team members can include financial experts, child specialists, vocational rehabilitation coaches, mediators, or mental health professionals depending on the needs of your case. The collaborative divorce team helps both clients to identify the issues in their case and to develop creative solutions to reach agreement.

The Benefits of Collaborative Practice

•    Control. Collaborative practice involves clients in information sharing and decision-making throughout the process, which moves at timing they determine with their team, not by an arbitrary schedule dictated by rule or statute. This provides partiers with greater control over the resolution process timetable and the issues addressed in their dispute. 
•    Time. For many clients, the collaborative model helps parties reach agreement and settle more quickly – often at lower cost – than traditional courtroom litigation.
•    Privacy. With traditional litigation, trial transcripts and court proceedings become public records. Because the Collaborative Practice resolves your case outside of the courtroom, it offers a level of privacy generally not provided with litigation.
•    Respect. Everyone on the collaborative team — the private parties and the professionals —commit to working in an atmosphere of mutual respect, sharing information and ideas, and maintaining a focus on mutual problem-solving.
•    No threat of court action. While the threat of "going to court" hangs over traditional litigation, the Collaborative Practice allows clients to share ideas and brainstorm solutions without feeling threatened. Court is only involved to finalize the case after full agreement is reached.
•    Coordinated support. In addition to legal guidance from their own attorney, each client has the support and counsel of other collaborative professionals to ensure that the process and the solution reached addresses all concerns and meets the clients' needs.

The team approach

The benefit of the team approach is that it helps parties coordinate and collaborate on a solution with their attorneys and other professionals related to the various issues that may be involved in their case. 

Typically, the parties and their attorneys work together to select a collaborative team early in the case process. Team members are chosen to address the specific needs of the case. For some, this may be a small team of the parties and their attorneys. However, if there is a complex financial situation, a financial expert may be brought on to help ensure that both parties can successfully transition to financial independence and understand potential tax impact of their divorce. Similarly, cases that involve young children often benefit from a child specialist who can focus on develop a plan for shared parenting that serves the best interest of the children.

If you believe our Collaborative process your benefit you and your partner and your family, please contact us today to schedule your free consultation.