Collaborative Law is an ideal solution for divorcing couples who still communicate on reasonable terms and want to avoid taking their divorce to court. The divorcing couple, their lawyers, and other third-party neutral professionals work together to share data, resolve issues, and work towards an agreement that is acceptable to both parties.
At Strata Law Group, we are well-versed in the Collaborative Law process, and have worked with many couples looking to resolve their case outside of court.
what is collaborative law?
Collaborative Law provides a safe haven for those in transition, whether a couple intends to wed or spouse intends to divorce. This model works for pre-nuptials, post-nuptials, divorces, and other types of conversations surrounding individuals in transition.
Divorce can take an emotional toll on a family, and when taken to court, leaves a stranger to make decisions based only on the limited information presented during the hearing or trial. With Collaborative Law, you and your spouse agree to work together, in good faith, and to be transparent in the exchange of information about assets and liabilities, as well as on information regarding your children’s needs and support. Under an umbrella of professionalism and safety, and with the help of your lawyers and professional team, you define what your goals are in the divorce, and then you explore solutions that work for the family now and in the future based upon those goals. Those that have gone through the Collaborative Law divorce process generally find it takes less of an emotional toll, especially when children are involved.
The Collaborative Law process requires several meetings to identify and discuss goals, reach agreement on your assets and liabilities, explore scenarios for dividing those assets and sharing residential time, and work toward a durable agreement – one that is acceptable to both individuals.
When using the Collaborative Law process, both spouses must agree to settle out of court. Any experts used, such as a financial coach or a neutral child custody expert, must be educated in the Collaborative Law process. Strict laws on confidentiality govern the Collaborative Law process, and similar to mediation, there is no sharing of the communication that takes place during the process.
If either party initiates a court action, the lawyers and experts must withdraw from the process, leaving the couples to start over with new lawyers and experts. This can add significant time and cost to the process.
Each spouse in the Collaborative Law process signs a Participation Agreement which includes the following principles:
- Agreement to act in good faith demonstrating cooperation, integrity and respect.
- Agreement to be transparent and to identify and address the interests and needs of all.
- Agreement to stay future-focused.
- Commitment to resolve all interests and needs without court intervention.
- Commitment to be child centric and to insulate the children.
- Agreement to disclose all information necessary to address the interests and needs of all.
- Agreement not to withhold or misrepresent information or to act so as to undermine or take advantage of the Collaborative process.
- Agreement to hire all consultants and experts jointly.
- Agreement not to go to court, and understanding that doing so will result in the withdrawal of the attorneys, consultants, and experts.
- Commitment to treat the information exchanged and discussed in the Collaborative process as confidential.
is collaborative law right for me?
Collaborative Law requires both divorcing clients to participate in the process. If your spouse agrees to this process, then the Collaborative Law process may be considered. Collaborative Law is unlikely to work if your relationship involves a history of domestic violence, child abuse, or untreated mental health problems.
Collaborative Law divorce focuses on your family’s long-term needs. If you and your spouse are willing to communicate openly and are committed to reaching a durable solution, this may be the right process for you.
our collaborative law professionals:
Pulling from her rich background of experience, Alexandra (Xana) provides outstanding advocacy and counsel to family law clients.
With over 20 years of experience as a family law attorney and litigator, Alexis is a Founding Principal at Strata Law Group.
Call today to schedule your initial consultation – (206) 682-6826