One important goal of the Collaborative Process is to help parties avoid going to court for adversarial hearings and trials, and to avoid contentious litigation generally. Collaborative Practice recognizes that the law is not the only basis on which families can or should make decisions about how to resolve their divorce.
Many parties prefer to base their settlement decisions on other, non-legal factors, such as the needs of children or extended family, faith-based values, practical economics and/or unique personal goals and interests. Still, the law can provide valuable guidance, and of course, it is very important that divorcing parties understand and consider their rights under the law when evaluating how best to resolve their case. Whatever criteria are used, the end result of any successful Collaborative Divorce will be a legal agreement.
In a Collaborative case, each of you has your own collaboratively trained lawyer, who meets with you separately and confidentially to discuss your needs, goals, rights, and obligations. Collaborative attorneys are knowledgeable about the law and have a wealth of experience regarding practical solutions to common problems experienced during the course of a marital dissolution. They help guide the discussions and negotiations that will lead to a comprehensive settlement. Separately and together, the collaborative attorneys will advise you and your spouse on relevant legal matters from child custody and support to financial settlements.
Most negotiations in a Collaborative Divorce take place via informal four-way meetings or larger meetings which may also include coaches, financial specialists, and other aligned professionals, as appropriate. These meetings are designed to be safe, comfortable, and constructive places for you to develop reasonable solutions tailored to your unique marital and family challenges. Your attorneys will work with one another to help reduce tension and unwarranted surprises and to efficiently move your case toward resolution, and, of course, they will draft your final settlement agreement.