Collaborative Family Lawyers give you expert legal advice, just as traditional adversarial lawyers do. They also have special training in mediation, negotiation and Collaborative Law so they can work with you in partnership and guide you through the Collaborative Process.
In Collaborative Divorce, the threat of going to court has been taken off the table. Your Collaborative Family Lawyer still works for you, helping you clarify what matters most to you. But they also work with your partner and their lawyer, instead of against them, helping you find solutions together that work for both of you.
Collaborative Family Lawyers do not do the negotiating for you. They work with you to help empower you and your partner to take charge of your future as equal participants.
Your Collaborative Family Lawyers help you and your partner move from conflict into collaboration.
The conventional divorce process schedules meetings according to the court process, even if you never go to court. The Collaborative Process is driven by your needs and what's important to you and your family.
You all work together, on your own schedule, to figure out the best possible plan for your future.
With Collaborative Divorce, you are in control.
You can begin your Collaborative Divorce by contacting any Collaborative Professional. Most couples begin by calling Family Lawyers because they are so central to the process.
Just like with court-based divorce, you and your partner each have your own Family Lawyer. They oversee your separation from start to finish. They may refer you to other professionals if you need emotional support, financial guidance or help with understanding your children's needs.
You first meet with your lawyers separately so you can freely discuss your needs and concerns.
Then, the four of you meet. Together, you resolve conflict respectfully, creating positive solutions to difficult problems—all without going to court.
With the support of the Collaborative Team, your lawyers guide you through the Collaborative Process. They empower you to focus on your best interests in all relevant areas, including:
Your Collaborative Family Lawyers help you choose solutions that will strengthen you in your transition to a two-household family. The process is entirely based on helping you and your partner resolve all the issues that are important to both of you.
When the two of you have reached agreement on all your issues, your lawyers draft up a separation agreement. This is a legally binding document that sets out how you and your spouse have resolved matters. If necessary, your lawyers will file the separation agreement with the court to enforce support or child custody.
If you are legally married and want to divorce, this is an additional step. After the separation agreement is signed, your lawyers can file a joint, non-adversarial application to the court for a divorce.
When you enter the Collaborative Process, you and your spouse sign a contract called a Participation Agreement with your Family Lawyer. By signing, you agree: