Collaborative Practice is a new dispute resolution model in which a divorcing couple works as a team with trained professionals to resolve disputes respectfully, without going to court. This team includes attorneys, mental health professionals and financial experts assisting the parties in resolving their conflict through cooperative strategies rather than adversarial techniques and litigation. All participants agree to work together respectfully, honestly, and in good faith to try to find mutually agreeable solutions to the legitimate needs of both parties. No one may go to court, or even threaten to do so.
Although Collaborative Practice comes in several models, it is distinguished from traditional litigation by its inviolable core elements. These elements are set out in a contractual commitment among the clients to:
- negotiate a mutually acceptable settlement without using court to decide any issues for the clients
- withdrawal of the professionals if either client goes to court
- engage in open communication and information sharing
- create shared solutions that take into account the highest priorities of both clients.