Collaborative Practice is a cooperative, voluntary, conflict resolution process. The essence of the process is the belief that it is in the best interests of the parties and their families to avoid adversarial proceedings, to resolve their differences with minimum conflict, and to work together to create shared solutions to the issues. The goal of Collaborative Practice is to maximize the settlement options to both parties, to increase the abilities of families to communicate in a post-separation relationship, and to minimize, if not eliminate, the negative economic, social and emotional consequences to families that have broken down.
In choosing Collaborative Practice, the parties and their lawyers commit to settling the case without court involvement. The participants agree to devote all of their efforts to achieve a negotiated settlement.
Collaborative Practice relies on an atmosphere of honesty, cooperation, integrity, and professionalism geared towards the future well-being of all family members.
Collaborative Practice uses informal discussions and short conferences to settle issues.
Collaborative Practice requires each party to identify their needs and all participants use their best efforts to create settlement proposals that meet both parties’ fundamental needs.
Click here for an overview of the steps in our Collaborative Practice “roadmap”. A more detailed version is available here.
Benefits of the Collaborative Approach
+ You control the process and the outcome, not the lawyers or the courts
+ You insulate your children from the negative effects of a relationship breakdown
+ You avoid lengthy and devastating legal battles
+ You save significant time and money
+ Settlement addresses both parties’ needs and concerns
Is Collaborative Practice for You?
+ Are you both determined to behave in a respectful, ethical manner towards one another instead of seeking revenge?
+ Do you both value a negotiated solution that meets both parties’ needs?
+ Will both of you make a commitment towards creative problem-solving to find solutions based on real needs not abstract rights?
Issues Concerning Children
In resolving issues about sharing the enjoyment of and responsibility for children, the participants make every effort to reach amicable solutions that put the children’s best interests first. The participants agree to act quickly to resolve differences related to the children and to promote a caring, loving and involved relationship between the children and both parents. They agree to insulate the children from the dispute by refraining from making negative comments about the other parent and by maintaining an attitude of respect and cooperation toward the other.
Negotiations in Good Faith
The process, even with full and honest disclosure, involves vigorous good-faith negotiation by each party. Parties use their best efforts to create proposals that meet the fundamental needs of family members. Although the likely outcome of a litigated result may be discussed, none of the participants will use threats of going to court as a way to force settlement by the other.
Ending the Collaborative Process
Either party may terminate the Collaborative process for any reason by giving written notice of termination to the other participants. The decision to take court action automatically terminates the Collaborative Process and the involvement of your lawyers, which means that you will have to start from scratch.