While collaborative law is a process where the parties agree to negotiate a mutually acceptable resolution of the disputed issues without going to court, each party is still represented by their own collaborative divorce attorney. Like divorce lawyers in traditional litigated matters, your family attorney will act as an advocate for your interests. They will explain the law and how it applies to your circumstances, as well as draft the final divorce agreement.
Collaborative Law Attorneys
Collaboratively trained attorneys have additional training in collaborative law and divorce mediation. They have ongoing training, experience, and knowledge in non-adversarial conflict resolution as well. In addition to advising clients in the applicable law and ensuring their clients’ interests are protected, collaborative attorneys, with the help of the collaborative team, are there to help guide the process to a fair and mutually acceptable resolution of all disputed issues associated with ending the marriage.
The following are some of the services your collaborative lawyer will provide:
- Assistance in identifying disputed issues and clarifying any concerns and goals.
- Help keeping the parties focused on the important issues, so they stay on track and continue making progress.
- Identifying possible solutions.
- Involving other collaborative professionals as needed. These might include financial neutrals, divorce coaches, and child specialist.
- Providing a thorough analysis of the options available.
- Ensuring that the client has a thorough understanding of the alternatives and solutions available so the client can make the best possible decisions.
- Ensuring that all negotiations take place in an environment of open and honest communication and where they feel safe.
In the collaborative divorce all parties sign a Participation Agreement. This provides a framework that sets the tone and ensures that all parties are committed to a good faith effort to reaching an agreement without resorting to litigation. In this way, collaborative attorneys have “skin in the game”. According to the agreement, if the collaborative process breaks down and either party files for court intervention, the collaborative attorneys will not participate in or represent the client in the litigation process. This takes litigation off the table. It removes the usual legal posturing that often takes place under the constant threat of litigation.
While the “Participation Agreement” provides the framework, it is the collaborative team, working together, that makes the collaborative process work.