In a collaborative case, couples work with a team of specially trained professionals to avoid the arbitrary and uncertain outcomes of litigation and achieve a settlement that best meets the specific needs of both parties and their children.
The process typically includes a variety of meetings at which the parties and professionals meet to discuss the issues, make any needed interim arrangements, and plan for information gathering. These conferences are set to exchange and clarify information and to brainstorm possible options for resolution of conflicts. All team members focus on clarifying each party’s needs and interests and developing solutions based on the free exchange of information between parties. Negotiations are based on finding options that best serve the options of the entire family and create the possibility for a positive continuing relationship.
Clients work with the team to carefully tailor the scope of the work to ensure the efficient use of their time and funds. As such, professionals only attend meetings requiring their particular expertise. The specific roles of the professionals on the Collaborative Team are the Family Law Attorney, Divorce Coach, Child Specialist, and Financial Specialist, all of whom maintain a primary focus on the needs of the children and welfare of the family overall while helping parents provide their children with the emotional support and healthy co-parenting they need.
Central tenets of the Collaborative Process include:
- A promise to reach a resolution without court intervention or the threat of court intervention.
- A pledge that if either party seeks court intervention both attorneys must withdraw from representation.
- A promise by all participants to negotiate in good faith by remaining open and flexible, disclosing all pertinent information and using constructive and respectful communication methods.
- An agreement that all communications that occur during, as well as all documents prepared in connection with, the Collaborative Process are inadmissible in any future court proceedings.