Collaborative Family Law is a voluntary process that has become increasingly popular over the years in North America. Parties who value mutual respect, civilized communications, and overall fairness, choose this approach to resolve custody, access, support and property issues. Upon separation, the parties and their lawyers sign a collaborative practice participation agreement to avoid court. The process requires them to be courteous and to act in good faith with one another.
Parties who choose to participate in the collaborative process put their past conflicts aside and find ways through their collaborative lawyers, to find real solutions to meet the emotional, physical and financial needs of the children and themselves. Third party professionals such as family and financial professionals are available to work with the collaborative lawyers and parties to find a team approach to reach a settlement of all matters that will enable the parties to move on with their lives.
Many couples who separate want to protect the children from further conflict and to find a way to resolve all issues over the separation amicably and cost-effectively. They do not want to go to court and have their private matters heard in a public forum, lose extended time from work to prepare and attend court, have decisions made for them that are beyond their control, incur substantial legal fees, nor do they want to increase the acrimony between them.
Unlike the adversarial approach in court litigation, there is a duty for both parties and their lawyers to have open communication and to use a team approach to find ways for the parties to work together to reach a settlement. The collaborative process is more cost effective, timely and mutually beneficial to the parties, as opposed to litigation.
If one or both of the parties are not willing to exchange all relevant financial disclosure then the court process will be needed to obtain disclosure orders. If there is abuse, fear, intimidation or coercion from one spouse to another then this process is not suitable. If this process does not result in a settlement then the lawyers who represent the parties in the Collaborative process cannot represent them in court.
Lien Family Law can help you decide which process is right for you.