Collaborative Law is a non-adversarial, problem-solving oriented approach to the resolution of disputes. In a Collaborative Law case, both parties retain counsel specially trained in Collaborative Law who commit to working toward an out-of-court settlement that meets the needs and interests of both parties. Joint experts such as mental health professionals, child specialists, accountants, and financial planners may also work with the parties and their lawyers as part of the "collaborative team."
The collaborative process begins by the parties and collaborative counsel reviewing and signing a participation agreement in which all participants agree to make a good faith effort to settle the case, to jointly engage any agreed-upon experts, and to refrain from going to court until a final agreement is reached. If the parties fail to reach resolution and one or both decide to litigate, the collaborative attorneys must withdraw, and both parties must engage new counsel. This provides an economic and emotional incentive to continue working toward settlement.
The details of an agreement are worked out through a series of meetings in which the lawyers, jointly engaged professionals, if any, and the parties actively engage in open and honest negotiation. The process enhances the parties’ ability to retain amicable relationships post-divorce. This is especially important if separating or divorcing clients have children.