How Does Collaborative Law Work?
Collaborative law is a process to resolve legal matters, such as divorce and custody, that keeps you out of court.
Choose Your Attorneys
One or both parties contact an attorney who is specially trained to resolve legal matters without court intervention. The attorney explains the options that are available to the parties, including litigation, mediation, arbitration, and collaborative divorce.
If the parties want to proceed with the collaborative process, both parties need to have a collaborative attorney. We recommend choosing from one of the other Lawyers With Heart attorneys to make the process seamless.
Sign A Participation Agreement
Once the attorneys are retained, the parties and their attorneys meet and sign a participation agreement stating, among other things:
- Agree to resolve the matter outside of court
- Be open and honest in their communications
- Voluntarily disclose all relevant information
- Communicate constructively and respectfully
Assemble The Team
The parties also decide if they need or want the assistance of neutral professionals. Collaboratively trained mental health professionals can act as a neutral divorce coach to help the parties with emotional issues, and to facilitate meaningful communication.
If there are children who have special needs, a neutral child advocate can be retained. For financial issues such as support and equitable distribution, a neutral financial specialist trained in the collaborative process can be retained to help with complex financial issues. If the parties do not have any need for neutrals, the process can proceed with just the parties and their attorneys.
The team, including the parties and their lawyers (and coach or financial neutral if needed), gathers in a series of meetings to resolve the parties’ issues. The professionals help the parties identify their goals and objectives at the beginning of the process, and commonalities are acknowledged.
Before each meeting, an agenda is prepared. During the meeting, both short term and long term issues are addressed. One of the attorneys takes notes so that meeting minutes can be prepared and distributed to everyone. Agreements are made, and homework is assigned when necessary to both parties and professionals.
One of the terms of the participation agreement is to allow the professionals to openly discuss the case. Between the meetings, the team communicates to address any issues and help the parties resolve any interim issues, and work towards resolution of long term issues.
Resolution Of The Matter
Once the parties have worked out all of their issues, the legal documents to resolve the matter are drafted and filed.
Contact Lawyers With Heart For Collaborative Law Services
To find representation for both collaborative law discussions, contact the experienced attorneys at Lawyers With Heart.