Cincinnati Family Law & Divorce Blog: What is Collaborative Law?
Collaborative law or collaborative practice is another option for parties who want to terminate their marriage without resorting to litigation or the adversarial process. There are several key features to a collaborative case. Each party must engage a collaborative attorney and a participation agreement will be signed. The agreement requires (1) an exchange of complete financial information (2) the maintenance of confidentially during the process so that each spouse can freely express his or her needs and concerns, (3) a commitment to resolving the case out of court and (4) an understanding that the collaborative attorneys may not represent them if either chooses litigation. The goal of the collaborative process is to reach a comprehensive agreement on all issues so that the parties can dissolve their marriage without court intervention.
Collaborative law empowers spouses to dissolve their marriage with dignity. While each party’s attorney will support him or her through advocacy, problem solving, and negotiating skills, the parties are also in control of the process. Each party is a major participant in the meetings as you identify goals, concerns, options and solutions. This allows you and your spouse to preserve a respectful working relationship during and after the process.
Collaborative law may be the best option for you and your spouse if you believe it is important to protect your children and family from the emotional and financial damage that litigation can cause and you and your spouse are able to focus on a positive solution for the entire family. Collaborative agreements can often result in more detailed and unique solutions that would otherwise be ordered by a court after a litigated court proceeding.
Collaborative law also allows the parties to employ the services of other experts including mental health professionals and financial neutrals. These professionals can play a key role in finalizing agreements and working through complex issues.
If you believe the Collaborative Law may be the right fit for you and your spouse, you should ask for more information from your attorney and express your interest in the process to your spouse. You may even share information and links to your spouse, such as www.collaborativelaw.com and www.collaborativepractice.com, so that he or she can seek out a collaboratively trained attorney as well.