Collaborative Practice – Resolving Disputes Respectfully
The support and guidance of your attorney and your spouse or partner’s attorney without going to court for your divorce, legal separation or child support.
Collaborative Practice is an alternative to traditional divorce proceedings where you and your spouse’s Collaborative Practice Teams work amicably problem-solve and find a resolution in which all parties agree. Your legal disputes can be resolved without judges, magistrates or other personnel from the court making decisions for you.
Collaborative Practice is often less of a hardship than traditional divorce proceedings and empowers you to find resolution and minimize impact on your personal life and your children’s lives.
If you are considering moving forward with a Collaborative Practice divorce, it is important that you work with a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP) because of the strict standards and ethics enforced by this organization.
IACP Standards and Ethics are enforced for all members of the Collaborative Practice Team which could include financial professionals, coaches, child specialists and other professionals aside from just your attorney and your spouse’s or partners attorney.
Collaborative Practice is a voluntary dispute resolution process in which parties settle without resorting to litigation.
In Collaborative Practice:
- The parties sign a collaborative participation agreement describing the nature and scope of the matter;
- The parties voluntarily disclose all information which is relevant and material to the matter that must be decided;
- The parties agree to use good faith efforts in their negotiations to reach
a mutually acceptable settlement;
- Each party must be represented by a lawyer whose representation
terminates upon the undertaking of any contested court proceeding;
- The parties may engage mental health and financial professionals
whose engagement terminates upon the undertaking of any contested
court proceeding; and
- The parties may jointly engage other experts as needed.
As a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals we proudly share this information and more from www.collaborativepractice.com.
- Negotiate a mutually acceptable resolution without having courts decided issues.
- Maintain open communication and information sharing.
- Create shared solutions acknowledging the highest priorities of all.
Once you and your partner/spouse decide on Collaborative Practice, the process works as follows:
- Each of you hires a Collaborative Practice Lawyer
- Everyone (attorneys and both spouses/partners) agrees in writing not to go to court.
- You will meet privately and in person with your Collaborative Professional Team, which may include coaches, financial professionals, and/or child specialists.
- Continue meetings as necessary, which produce an honest exchange of information and clear understanding about needs and expectations, especially concerning the well-being of children.
- Mutual problem solving by all parties leads to the final agreement.
As is true with most every case, your personal situation determines how quickly your collaborative process proceeds. Collaborative Practice can be more direct and efficient than traditional divorce proceedings that involve the courts. Collaborative Practice focuses on problem solving, rather than assigning blame, which provides an opportunity for respectful results.
Since you settle out f court, there is no waiting for multiple court dates that are necessary with conventional litigation. Experience shows that Collaborative Practice cases generally take less time than litigated cases.
Comparing Collaborative vs. Litigation
Regardless of which option you are considering, the same questions are likely to come up, such as “How expensive is litigated divorce vs. the collaborative practice?” or “How long does it take for collaborative divorce vs. litigation?“ and “Will I have more control over the process if litigated or collaborative?” We’ve compiled the comparisons below for several of the most common concerns and questions we receive to help when considering of the best approach for your needs.
|Question / Concern||COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE||LITIGATED DIVORCE|
|Who Controls the Process?||Both Spouses control the process and make final decisions||Judge controls the process and makes final decisions|
|Degree of Adversity||Both spouses pledge mutual respect and transparency||HIGH -- Court process is based on an adversarial system|
|Cost||Efficient and manageable, less expensive than litigation ($$)||Unpredictable and can escalate quickly ($$$$)|
|Timetable||Spouses and team work together to create a meeting schedule and plan (average 6-9 months)||Judge sets timetable; delays often happen (average 1+ years)|
|Use of Outside Experts||Jointly retained specialists provide information and guidance helping spouses to develop informed and mutually beneficial solutions||Separate experts hired to support litigants’ positions, often at a great expense to each|
|Involvement of Lawyers||Lawyers work towards mutually created settlement; family-focused (win-win approach)||Lawyers fight to win, often creating more animosity; family suffers (win-lose approach)|
|Privacy||The entire process, discussion, and negotiation details are private||Dispute becomes a matter of public record for anyone to see|
|Facilitation of Communication||Team of collaborative professionals educate and assist both spouses on how to effectively communicate with each other||No process designed to facilitate communication|
|Lines of Communication||Spouses communicate directly and have assistance from team if necessary||Spouses communicate and negotiate through lawyers|
|Court Involvement||Outside of Court||Court-based|
|Focus of Divorce||Solution-focused||Fault-focused|
Because every situation and case is unique, please schedule a time with us to discuss your needs and review the best available options for your specific circumstances.