Collaborative Practice Family Law offers an effective alternative to the inherently adversarial court process. Both parties must enter into the process voluntarily, and agrees to resolve their issues respectfully. While the court process is oriented toward the legal rights and obligations of both parties, the collaborative process allows both parties to generate options that best suit their family. This allows the family much more self-determination in creating an outcome based on their specific needs.
One of the key elements of collaborative practice is the voluntary sharing of full and frank disclosure amongst the parties. When placed in the family business context, this is especially crucial. Both spouses must remain willing and open to discuss the issues, while firmly planted on a foundation of financial disclosure.
Both parties’ lawyers also commit themselves to coming to a mutually agreeable resolution. The parties must agree in advance that should the collaborative process fail, neither party may use their collaborative lawyer to advance their position in court. This creates an environment conducive to negotiation and settlement.
The collaborative process is unique in that it offers the additional benefit of involving neutral professionals who specialize in associated areas. These neutrals are able to address relevant areas of the family law matter, often with more experience in their particular field than lawyers. Neutrals are also able to complete work at their hourly rate, rather than at the lawyer’s fee. They are also able to take on some of the information gathering that would alternatively be completed by the spouses, which can be stressful. This makes including neutrals an efficient way to deal with issues in a cost effective manner.