What Is Collaborative Family Law?
Collaborative Family Practice is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution that focuses on interest-based negotiation in a team approach of neutral professionals (may include a Family Professional and Financial Professional) and each spouse’s lawyers. Collaborative Family Law relies on maximum communication, promotion of exchange of information, and the generation of creative resolution techniques. This form of dispute resolution process requires the parties and their counsel to commit to the realization of a negotiated outcome. In Collaborative Family Law it is agreed upon that litigation will not be commenced while negotiating and that in the event that negotiation cannot be reached, neither lawyer will be eligible to represent their respective client in any subsequent litigation.
Collaborative Family Law works on the voluntary participation and willingness of both parties to work through the legal issues civilly and amicably.
In Collaborative Family Law we will assist you in resolving your conflict using cooperative strategies rather than litigation techniques. The commitment to work collaboratively is reflected in an agreement between lawyers and clients.
In Collaborative Family Practice, parties resolve their disputes respectfully, with the assistance and guidance from their lawyers and neutral professionals to achieve a settlement that is tailored to the specific needs and unique circumstances of all parties involved. This is where our expertise comes into play.
Can I Use Collaborative Family Law?
When considering whether Collaborative Family Practice is a potential option for you, ask yourself the following questions:
- Can I respect my spouse even when we disagree?
- Are my children’s needs my top priority?
- Are both my and my spouse’s needs equal in my mind?
- Can I listen to my spouse objectively?
- Can I work creatively and cooperatively with my spouse?
The guiding principle of Collaborative Family Practice is mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation between both spouses and the goal of Collaborative Family Practice is to build a settlement and ensure a positive outcome for the parties and their children.
Collaborative Family Law Process
The steps to commencing the Collaborative Family Law process start with the decision to settle your divorce or separation to the best of your ability outside of the court system. Both you and your spouse will hire a Collaborative Family Lawyer. The next step is to hire the neutral Family Professional and the neutral Financial Professional.
A Participation Agreement is signed stating you are ready and willing to work together to find a solution that is fair and equitable. This agreement includes but is not limited to, a promise to work together to reach a solution without threatening the other party with court intervention.
Spouses will cover important topics like asset and property division, child and spousal support, and parenting arrangements.
For more information on Collaborative Family Law in Sudbury and Ontario please visit the Collaborative Practice Sudbury website and the OACP website.
Commonly Asked Questions About Collaborative Family Practice also known as Collaborative Family Law
Collaborative Family Law is a form of alternative dispute resolution. Each spouse’s lawyer will assist you through the process and advise, advocate, and analyze options that best suit your family’s needs. Lawyers and neutral professionals use tools to help guide the family through the important topics of separation and divorce.
That spouse and their lawyers will collaborate and negotiate to reach a mutually acceptable settlement outside of the court process.
Collaborative Family Law lawyers are specifically trained in Collaborative Family Law and participate in ongoing legal education programs.
Although rare, if a separation agreement cannot be reached the parties withdraw from the collaborative law process and a proceeding can be commenced in Court with alternate lawyers (not the collaborative lawyers hired in the collaborative law process). Therefore none of the lawyers, professionals engaged in the process, or the documents and meetings during the Collaborative period can be used in court.