Collaborative Family Law is an alternative to the adversarial nature of the court process and is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). It requires both parties to enter into the process voluntarily.
It requires both parties to enter into the process voluntarily. They commit to resolving their issues in a respectful and cooperative manner and to avoid adversarial proceedings, with the help of their lawyers to guide them in the process. Spouses who agree to avoid court proceedings must be willing to be open regarding the issues, and must voluntarily provide full and frank disclosure to the other party. Any negotiated settlement will be based on the assumption that the parties have acted in good faith and have provided complete and truthful information prior to settlement.
The 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.
Collaborative practice is similar to other forms of ADR such as mediation, arbitration, and negotiation. Both collaborative practice and ADR aim to achieve the most efficient, agreeable, and cost-effective solutions for the parties. Collaborative practice differs from other forms of ADR such as mediation by enabling each party to have their own legal guide during the process as mediators cannot provide legal advice but rather help facilitate the discussions between the parties.
Both collaborative practice and other ADR processes are encouraged by our firm because of the opportunity it provides for the parties to control their methods of resolving issues, cost and time expediency, and additional privacy. However, cases that have the risk of power imbalance are not always appropriate for this method of resolution. Our team has extensive training and experience screening for such power imbalances prior to commencing any process.
If you are interested in using the collaborative process to resolve your family law issues, please contact our office. The lawyers at Russell Alexander Family Lawyers have Collaborative Family Law training and will happily help you achieve a resolution to your family law problems. As part of the collaborative process, our lawyers will meet with you to determine your interests and goals and will guide you through the process of reaching an agreement with your former spouse. Once a consensus is reached, we will draft your agreement and have it signed by both parties to create a legally binding document.