Learn More About The Collaborative Process

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What Is Collaborative Law?

What is Collaborative Family Law

Questions to Ask your Collaborative Attorney

What is Collaborative Family Law

No single way of separating or divorcing is right for every couple ending their relationships or marriage. Many today are seeking an alternative to conventional divorce, paternity or the establishment of a parenting plan, one that minimizes the time, expense and hostility that are so often a part of family law.  Collaborative Family law has been developed to provide individuals with a welcome alternative.

Collaborative Family Law is a process in which both parties and counsel commit themselves to resolve differences fairly, equitably, in a respectful manner without resort or threat of resort to the courts.

In recent years more and more family law attorneys and couples have been drawn to this process as a cost-efficient and respectful way of reaching agreements that work for both of the parties and their families.

Collaborative Family Law Cases are not your typical court-based, high-stress cases. In fact, it is meant to resolve your issues in a peaceful and respectful team-based approach:

  • (Time) Restructure relationships faster with less stress;
  • (Money) Preserve finances for both parents and children;
  • (Emotion) Reduce emotional tolls on family;
  • (Results) Customize “win-win” results for both spouses;
  • (Relationships) Preserve family relationships beyond divorce; and
  • (No Court Hearings) Keeping your matters private.

Team Members

Questions to Ask your Collaborative Attorney

What is Collaborative Family Law

The Collaborative team is a group of professionals, each skilled in their own area of expertise, working for the benefit of you, your spouse or other parent  and your children.  It is very much like a medical team in which different specialists focus on the care and needs of the patient.
The Collaborative team consists of:

  • A Collaborative lawyer for each spouse
  • Financial Neutral
  • Neutral Facilitator
  • Allied Professionals (as needed) Often a Parenting Plan Coordinator.

Whereas conventional family law often involves exchanging demands and accusations, the Collaborative approach proceeds on the basis of mutual cooperation, respect and option building.  Some characteristics of the Collaborative process include:

  • the team seeks to understand what is important for each client and the family unit;
  • the team offers targeted legal, mental health and financial support;
  • the team brainstorms, avoid judgment, and refrains from positional arguments;
  • the focus is on problem solving and exploring options, facilitating creative outcomes;
  • ultimatums, roadblocks, barriers and negative criticism are prohibited;
  • the common goal is to support and empower the parties to reach settlement.

You and your spouse or the other parent are integral parts of the team.  Collaborative lawyers view their professional obligations differently from litigation attorneys.  Collaborative attorneys are not adversaries but are partners in the problem-solving process.

The Collaborative Attorney:
Collaborative lawyers are not hired guns. They do not threaten, insult, or focus on past wrongs or the negative. Your Collaborative attorney will encourage and support you to identify and achieve goals which will result in amicable settlement by:

  • assisting you in gathering and analyzing information;
  • helping you examine needs and interests to develop settlement options and packages;
  • helping you evaluate possible solutions;
  • helping you evaluate settlement options in the context of established legal precedent;
  • preparing and filing the necessary documentation which will ultimately result in entry of a Final Judgment.

A Collaborative Financial Professional:
Frequently one party in the family law case is less informed when it comes to the family finances. That party may react in a number of ways: terror, curiosity, feeling overwhelmed. When that is the case, it is essential to bring a Financial Neutral into the process.  The Financial Neutral will be beneficial by presenting financial issues and information in an understandable, unbiased format. For the first time in their financial lives the parties may be able to look at their finances in a safe and non-threatening environment. The Financial Neutral will:

  • gather financial data;
  • prepare statements of net worth;
  • develop different financial/support scenarios for clients to evaluate;
  • provide financial guidance, planning, support and budgeting throughout the process, with follow up as needed;
  • explain the tax implications and consequences of alternative scenarios;
  • assist in evaluating your assets and debt.

Collaborative Neutral Facilitator:
A  Neutral Facilitator is a licensed Mental Health Professional with specialized training in the Collaborative process. Neutral Facilitators add expertise by way of facilitating helpful and healthful communication  between the parties.  In doing so, Neutral Facilitator:

  • helps you develop and reinforce effective communication skills;
  • helps your awareness and perspective on relationship dynamics, including identifying and navigating emotional triggers;
  • helps the couple avoid and  manage emotional impasses;
  • helps to emotionally prepare the couple  for the Collaborative meetings;
  • helps families with children develop parenting plans and co-parenting strategies/skills to support the transition to two households.

Questions to Ask your Collaborative Attorney

Questions to Ask your Collaborative Attorney

Questions to Ask your Collaborative Attorney

  • How long have you been involved with family law?
  • How long have you been collaboratively trained, and approximately how many cases have you been involved with?
  • What percentage of your work consists of non-litigation cases?
  • What do you see as the benefits of proceeding collaboratively  vs. litigating?
  • Are you a member of the Next Generation Divorce ?
  • In your opinion, what are the main reasons why some cases are not resolved collaboratively?
  • What is your hourly rate?
  • Will you provide me with an itemized monthly bill?
  • If I have a question about my case, can I call you? How quickly can I expect to have my calls returned?
  • Can you name a few things I can do that will make my case go more smoothly?
  • What do you expect from me?
  • What documents will I need to provide?

Qualities to Seek:

  • An attorney you feel comfortable working with and in whom you have confidence.
  • An attorney who will explain the process and applicable law in terms you understand.
  • An attorney who is accessible and responsive to you  within a reasonable time .
  • An attorney who specializes in matrimonial/divorce or family law and who has in-depth experience in the field.

Success Stories

Why don't we have any listed??

Collaborative Family Law Issues are private and so despite many successes in helping people settle their issues we cannot publish their names because we appreciate and protect their privacy. However, if you seek a reference, there are other attorney's and professional team members that we have worked with that we would be glad to give you as a reference.