Collaborative Family Law is a voluntary process which is designed to help clients resolve their family law issues while avoiding the need to go to court. With the assistance of their lawyers, the parties take part in a series of meetings to try and negotiate a settlement. Before beginning the process, both parties are required to sign an agreement which reinforces their commitment to the collaborative process and disqualifying their respective lawyer's ability to represent either one in any future litigation should the process fail. The lawyer's role is to help foster a candid environment while at the same time advising their respective clients of their legal rights and obligations under the law. Even if you are already involved in a court case, you and your spouse can agree to withdraw your court case and try a collaborative approach.
The collaborative process requires a respectful environment and that all parties negotiate in good faith. The parties are required to exchange all relevant information and are contractually obligated to disclose any relevant materials throughout the process. Collaborative law attempts to provide an emotionally safe, non adversarial process in which divorcing spouses can have frank conversation with each other.
Through this collaborative approach, the parties are able to focus on cooperative strategies as opposed to adversarial techniques. It also helps remove the uncertainty that comes with litigating in court and is designed to achieve a settlement that best meets the specific needs of both parties without the threat of litigation.
Collaborative negotiations can be characterized as a client-focused process in which clients decide how often and when they want to meet, what interests and goals they wish to achieve and what collaborative professionals they will hire to assist them. The collaborative lawyer's goal is to complete the divorce transition with integrity and mutual satisfaction with the best outcome resulting in a "win-win" situation.
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