The Collaborative Process is a form of dispute resolution that is 100% focused on settlement. There is a commitment to resolving issues justly and equitably without threat of seeking court resolution. The most fundamental component is that the attorney engagement is for the purpose of negotiating and drafting a settlement and an uncontested no-fault divorce (if applicable). There is a participation agreement signed by the parties that indicates that neither of the attorneys will represent their client in litigation. If either party decides to pursue filing in court without a settlement and asking for court relief, the Collaborative Process ends and the clients retain litigation counsel.
Each party retains a separate attorney specially trained in the Collaborative Process. Use of other professionals trained in the Collaborative Process is encouraged. A mental health professional is available to assist with emotions, communications and child-related matters. A financial professional is available to assist with collecting financial information regarding income, assets, debts and expenses and can provide financial information and projections. The team of professionals put together by the clients and their attorneys helps the clients work through legal, financial, and emotional issues.
The process consists of a series of meetings with the clients and the professionals hired to assist with the process. The process is “transparent” where legal advice is provided in the presence of the other party and his/her attorney. There is emphasis on an atmosphere of respect, honesty, cooperation and professionalism, with a focus on the well-being of the parties and the family. All participants use their best efforts to reach a resolution that meets the fundamental needs of both parties. Any court representation by the collaborative attorney is limited to incorporating any settlement agreement into a subsequent court order (and an uncontested no-fault divorce, if applicable).