You may have heard the term collaborative law and wonder what exactly it means. Collaborative law is an alternative dispute resolution technique that has gained popularity in recent years.
While collaborative law can be used in any type of legal situation, it is most commonly used in divorce or family law situations.
Many people choose collaborative law, such as mediation, because it saves them time and money. Collaborative law also usually results in better feelings between the parties because it is a less adversarial process.
Before deciding if collaborative law is right for you, you might have questions about how it works.
The role of attorneys
Like traditional litigation, you and your spouse both hire attorneys. However, these attorneys are designated as collaborative law attorneys.
This means that their roles are different than traditional attorneys. With traditional attorneys, you try to resolve your situation, but if you do not, you go to court and your attorney represents you.
Collaborative law attorneys are hired solely to help you resolve your situation outside of court. You will even potentially sign an agreement saying you agree to not go to court.
Your collaborative team
You will then assemble a team of professionals who will help you make decisions on your divorce or custody matters.
Professionals can include financial experts, child psychologists, therapists or any other professional whose knowledge and advice can help guide you toward the best resolution.
All these people are sometimes referred to as your collaborative team. Once your team is assembled, you will usually have a series of meetings to discuss and try to resolve your issues.
How the process works
You can try to resolve all issues in one meeting, but that is often overwhelming. A series of shorter meetings, designed to address one topic at a time, might work better.
Additional meetings might also be required because your professionals need time to investigate and research.
Your first meeting with a financial professional might consist of information gathering about your situation. Your next meeting would involve them presenting your options for resolution.
Collaborative law is not right for every situation, but having an idea of what it entails can help you decide if it is an option worth pursuing.