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“Collaborative law is a way to ‘trouble shoot and problem solve’ rather than to fight and win.” -Maury Beaulier
Collaborative law is a dispute resolution process that allows for divorcing couples to work with lawyers and other professionals to settle their disputes out of court. A collaborative divorce focuses on open communication and negotiation. It is different from other types of dispute resolution like mediation or arbitration because there is no neutral third party between the couples. Instead, couples retain their own collaboratively trained attorneys to negotiate and problem solve in a positive and amicable way. The parties are asked to agree to act respectfully, transparently, and in good faith. If either party decides to pursue litigation, all attorneys and other professionals must withdraw. Collaboratively trained attorneys are prepared to consider the best interests of the family, and determine the most efficient way to resolve disputes. They are also prepared to help clients maintain an open dialogue and communicate effectively. Other professionals like child specialists and financial advisors may be utilized in collaborative divorce. Although the goal of a collaborative divorce is to avoid litigation, the settlement is still a legal agreement. That being said, it is necessary to choose a collaboratively trained attorney. Another important goal of collaborative divorce is to put children first. Instead of letting children fall into the middle of the divorce, they are put into the center of the discussion. Child specialists are often utilized in a collaborative divorce to ensure that children are a priority through advocation. By putting such a large emphasis on the children’s needs, there is less stress put on them and the family as a whole.
A major advantage of collaborative law is the ability to avoid court in favor of negotiations and settlements. Participants specifically agree to resolve the case outside of court.
Less Time and Money
Since negotiations and settlements require zero court time, cases are generally handled much faster. The timeline is usually set for what works best for the family rather than the timeline of the court. Because this timeline is generally much faster and more efficient, money and resources are saved.
Another benefit of collaborative law is the amount of privacy. In court, certain negative allegations or personally private information can be available to the public. Choosing collaborative law means all negotiations take place in a private setting between the parties and professionals.
Better for Children
A lengthy or conflict-filled divorce can put a lot of pressure on children, causing unnecessary emotional hardship. Through collaborative law, parents agree to act amicably and communicate effectively. This can create an overall positive experience with less conflict when it comes to children.
When time and money is saved, privacy is maintained, and family life is preserved, couples generally have a more positive experience. This results in less stress on the entire family.