Collaborative Practice is a voluntary dispute resolution process in which parties settle disputes without resort to litigation. It is a goal and interest based model rather than a rights based model. It strives to reach sustainable post-divorce agreements and a good, amicable co-parent relationship.
In Collaborative Practice:
- The parties sign a collaborative participation agreement describing the nature and scope of the matter including disqualification of the professional team to continue with representing the parties if the process terminates. Without this agreement it IS NOT A COLLABORATIVE CASE
- The parties voluntarily disclose all information which is relevant and material to the matter that must be decided. Withholding of information can lead to termination of the process;
- The parties agree to use good faith efforts in their negotiations to reach a mutually acceptable and sustainable settlement agreement;
- Each party must be represented by a lawyer whose representation terminates upon the undertaking of any contested court proceeding. This threat of disqualification leads too much higher levels of commitment by all as the financial incentives lies in settlement;
- 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.
Collaborative Practice provides you and your spouse or partner with the support and guidance of your own lawyers without going to court. Additionally, Collaborative Practice allows you the benefit of family counsellors, child and financial specialists all working together with you on your team.
In Collaborative Practice, core elements form your commitments to this process, which are to:
- Negotiate a mutually acceptable and sustainable resolution without having courts decide issues.
- Maintain open communication and information sharing.
- Create shared solutions acknowledging the highest priorities of all.
- Preserving the confidentiality of sensitive financial information which is not allowed to be used outside the collaborative process. If the process terminates the information stays confidential.
- Preserving relations to continue co-parenting after divorce.
- Preserving the best interest of the children without having to pull them through care and contact assessments by experts and at times more than one expert.
A clip from ‘The Today Show’ that reviews the collaborative law process from both the clients’ point of view as well as the attorneys’.
(courtesy of IACP – International Academy of Collaborative Professional)