Collaborative law is an option for parties who would like to resolve their dispute themselves but want the benefits of legal representation. Like mediation, the disputing parties determine the settlement terms outside of court. But with collaborative law, each party retains his or her own attorney to advise, assist and protect the client’s interests.
- Greater control for the parties. The parties determine the settlement terms, not a judge.
- Legal representation. Provides each spouse with his or her own collaborative-trained attorney for advice and assistance.
- Expert support. The parties can choose to include other professionals such as a neutral financial professional and/or a mental health professional.
- Cost savings. Collaborative law can be quicker and cheaper than litigating in the court system.
- Speed. Collaborative law can resolve disputes in a much shorter period of time than the court system. This allows the parties to move forward in their lives without the strain of the dispute.
- Confidentiality. The court system is generally a very public process. The collaborative process is confidential, with a few very limited exceptions. With the personal nature of divorce and parenting disputes, keeping the matter private can be a valuable benefit for the parties, their children and their loved ones.
- Preservation of relationship. Unlike litigation, collaborative law offers an environment aimed at reducing conflict and minimizing its impact on the parties. Collaborative law may be beneficial for parties, like parents, who need to continue interacting with each other after the dispute is resolved.
- Voluntary. Requires that the parties voluntarily disclose necessary information and make a good faith effort to reach agreement.
- Each party should be free of coercion and intimidation.
- The parties and their respective attorneys agree that if the parties are unable to reach agreement and must go to court, neither the attorneys nor their firms may represent the parties in the court proceeding.