Collaborative Practice

An out of court process for resolving disputes respectfully, using a non-adversarial approach. It uses specially trained lawyers and other professionals such as financial or mental health practitioners to help the spouses negotiate a mutually acceptable settlement without going to court.

In Collaborative Practice, core elements form the parties’ contractual commitments. These include:

  • Negotiate a mutually acceptable settlement agreement.
  • Maintain open communication and information sharing.
  • Create shared solutions that they believe are in the best interest of their family.
  • Create shared solutions acknowledging the highest priorities of all.

Collaborative Practice can also apply to disputes involving employment law, probate law, construction law, real property law, and other civil law where continuing relationships exist after the conflict has been resolved. In Collaborative Practice, the lawyers sign an agreement that disqualifies attorneys and other professional team from participating in litigation if the Collaborative process ends without reaching an agreement.

Advantages of Collaborative Practice include:

  • Lower Cost: The collaborative process is generally less costly and time-consuming than litigation.
  • Client involvement: The clients are a vital part of the settlement team and have a greater sense of involvement in the decision making which affects their lives.
  • Supportive Approach: Each client is supported by his or her lawyer and coach in a manner that still allows the attorneys to work collaboratively with one another in resolving issues.
  • Less Stress: The process is much less fear and anxiety producing than participating in antagonistic court proceedings. Everyone can focus on settlement without the imminent threat of “going to Court.”
  • Win-Win Climate: The Collaborative Process creates a positive climate that produces a more satisfactory outcome for both parties. The possibility actually exists for participants to create a climate that facilitates “win-win” settlements.
  • Speed: The speed of the Collaborative Process is governed by the parties rather than court calendars.
  • Creativity: The Collaborative Process encourages creative solutions in resolving issues.
  • Clients in Charge: The non-adversarial nature of the Collaborative Process shifts decision making into the hands of the clients where it belongs, rather than into the hands of a third party (the court).
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