About Collaborative Practice
Collaborative Practice (or the Collaborative Process) allows clients to work together to respectfully resolve disputes outside of court, seeking options that will serve the interests of both clients, their children, and other affected persons. If there is to be a continuing relationship among the participants, the Collaborative Process provides a safe space for creating a positive one.
Because these disputes are legal in nature, clients will need Collaborative attorneys as part of their team. Clients continue to build their team by adding appropriate non-legal professionals, typically those who serve as parenting and communications counselors, neutral financial professionals, and neutral child specialists. Clients may add other professionals as needed, such as vocational and real estate experts.
In the Collaborative Process, clients and professionals agree to: work respectfully and in good faith to gather all information needed to reach resolution, produce all necessary information and documents voluntarily and in a timely fashion, and focus on educating all participants about the underlying information, each client’s interests, and possible solutions. Hiding documents and unnecessary delays are not permitted. Clients do not engage in expensive legal procedures to obtain information and do not use outside decision makers. The contract signed by the clients and their Collaborative attorneys and any other team members expressly prohibits going to court during the time they are working towards settlement, and expressly prohibits the attorneys from representing the clients in any future adversarial proceedings between them.
The Collaborative Process takes place through a series of regular meetings where both clients and their professionals discuss the issues, make any necessary interim arrangements, plan for information gathering, brainstorm options, and then negotiate, draft, and implement their agreement. An environment is carefully created in these meetings to enable difficult conversations to safely occur.
People choose Collaborative Practice because it allows them to be fully involved and to maintain control over their case, the building and participation of their team, and client-centered decision-making. They have the full support of their attorneys and mental health and financial professionals, which helps them to make well-informed, creative, and appropriate decisions. It allows clients to find solutions often not possible in litigation.