Collaborative DivorceNavigating Collaborative Divorce

The Collaborative Family Law Approach

Collaborative Divorce - Navigating Collaborative Divorce

Navigating Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative divorce or collaborative family law is a voluntary and private dispute resolution process in which the separating couple makes a commitment to settle their family law matter outside of court by working cooperatively. This process aims to provide a more holistic approach by addressing the financial, emotional, and legal issues that impact a family. Both parties are encouraged to focus on what is fair and in the best interests of the family, rather than on advancing their own personal position and trying to "win". 

Key Commitments

In collaborative divorce, the separating couple agrees to:

  • Communicate in a respectful and open manner.
  • Exchange information in good faith and to provide complete and accurate disclosure.
  • Maintain the confidentiality of the process.
  • Resolve issues constructively and in a non-adversarial manner.
  • Engage in non-positional negotiation, focusing on both parties’ interests.
  • Find mutually acceptable solutions that work for the family as a whole; and
  • Not litigate in court.

Team-Based Approach

Collaborative family law is a team-based, interdisciplinary approach where the divorcing couple and their respective family lawyers work together in negotiation meetings called four-way meetings. Unlike the traditional court-based approach to divorce, collaborative lawyers work with the separating couple toward the same goal - reaching a fair and durable settlement.

While this process always includes collaborative family lawyers, it also often includes other professionals as part of the team, such as financial specialists (accountants), mental health professionals (also known as “divorce coaches”), child specialists, and others.

Participation Agreement

After each person retains a certified collaborative lawyer, they will be asked to sign a participation agreement - this is a defining element of the collaborative divorce process. This agreement contains a “disqualification clause” that says that if either party commences litigation in court, the process will end and the collaborative family lawyers can no longer represent their clients. This clause acts as a deterrent because if either party chooses to litigate or quit the collaborative process, they will be forced to hire new lawyers to represent them.

Success and Benefits of Collaborative Divorce

The success rate of the collaborative process is very high. It has been estimated that approximately 92-95% of all collaborative law matters are resolved outside of court. Removing the option of litigation in divorce court allows the separating spouses to work cooperatively and to retain control over the outcome of their divorce.

Book Your Collaborative Divorce Consult

There is a common misconception that the collaborative divorce process requires a divorcing couple to be friendly and in agreement on most of the issues in question. The reality is that the collaborative process is an excellent option for resolving family law issues, even in cases where there is considerable disagreement and conflict.

Collaborative family law offers a more positive and comprehensive approach to divorce and separation than traditional litigation. A team of professionals, including legal, financial, and mental health experts, supports you through each step. The approach is open, transparent, and cost-effective, prioritizing honest communication and full disclosure. It's especially beneficial for children, reducing conflict and focusing on their needs.

We recognize that it is often difficult and not always possible to have a candid discussion with your spouse about how you envision your separation and divorce. How do you get them to buy into the collaborative family law process? In our experience, what works is having one of the spouses attend for a meeting with a family lawyer to go over the collaborative process as well as family law in general.

Navigating Collaborative Divorce

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