Collaborative Law


What is Collaborative Law?

Collaborative Law removes family disputes from traditional courtroom litigation into innovative, solution-based settings. Collaborative law methods allow both parties to reach a cooperative settlement to end their marriage. These divorces also avoid the often contentious “fight to win” model. Such an approach is made possible by specially trained attorneys and professionals skilled in collaborative law practices. 

To start any collaborative divorce process, each party must recruit specially trained collaborative attorneys who will need to sign a written agreement with the intent to achieve a beneficial settlement for both parties. The attorneys may work with a team of other professionals, including a financial expert, child specialist, or divorce coach. If a resolution cannot be reached, the spouses then retain courtroom lawyers as collaborative attorneys cannot go to court.


An Alternative To Litigation

A collaborative divorce is an alternative to litigation in which parties obtain a divorce with the assistance of their lawyers and other professionals without going to court. Collaborative practice provides you and your spouse or partner a team of professionals to support and guide you through the divorce process.

Collaborative Law Vs Litigation

Traditional divorce often involves a contentious court battle, but less-confrontational divorce options exist. As seen in the chart below, collaborative divorce is a non-adversarial process that allows both parties to avoid trial.
  Collaborative Law Litigation
Who controls the process? You and your spouse control the process and make final decisions. Judge controls process and makes final decisions if no agreement.
Degrees of Adversity You and your spouse work in a respectful and open environment. Court is an adversarial process.
Cost Usually less expensive than litigation. Costs are unpredictable and can escalate rapidly.
Timetable You and your spouse create the timetable. Judge sets the timetable; often delays due to crowded court calendars.
Use of Outside Experts Jointly retained specialists provide information and guidance helping you and your spouse develop informed, mutually beneficial solutions. Separate experts hired to support each person's position, often at great expense to each.
Involvement of Lawyers Your collaborative lawyer works toward a mutually created settlement. Lawyers fight to win, often at great emotional and financial expense, but someone loses.
Privacy The process and discussions or negotiation details are kept private. Dispute becomes a matter of public record and, sometimes, media attention.
Voluntary vs. Mandatory Voluntary - process is outside of court. Mandatory if no agreement.
Lines of Communication You and your spouse communicate directly with the assistance and guidance of members of your team on how to communicate effectively. You and your spouse negotiate through your lawyers; no process designed to facilitate communication with your spouse.
Going through a divorce is a complicated and often confusing experience for those involved. It can help to understand as many points of the process as possible. Learn more by reading some of our most frequently asked questions.

Is Collaborative Law the same as Mediation?

While neither mediation and collaborative law require court appearances, they use two very different methods. Rather than having one, unbiased facilitator, the collaborative process relies on both parties having their own specialized attorneys to work together and reach the desired result.

What is a Participation Agreement?

The Collaborative law process begins after both parties and attorneys sign an agreement stating intent to reach a settlement outside of court. If unable to reach a settlement, the spouses must terminate the process and retain a courtroom lawyer. Collaborative attorneys cannot serve in the courtroom.

What is a Collaborative Law Attorney?

A collaborative attorney has interdisciplinary training in collaborative practices. These attorneys understand how to work with opposing parties and their representation to reach a resolution that meets the needs of all parties involved.

Ready to Get Started?

It’s important to review all of your options when planning for divorce. If you have any questions or feel Collaborative Law may be the best choice for your divorce process, we can help. Contact Select Law Partners, PLC today.