Collaborative Practice is a way for a divorcing couple to work as a team with trained professionals to resolve disputes respectfully, without going to court. Each client has the support, protection and guidance of his or her own lawyer. Settlements are discussed with both clients and both lawyers present and in a manner designed to reach both clients’ goals.
While Collaborative lawyers are always a part of Collaborative divorce, some models also include child specialists, financial specialists and divorce coaches as part of the clients’ divorce team. The clients benefit throughout the Collaborative process from the assistance and support of all of the chosen professionals.
Although Collaborative Practice models vary, they always share core elements, which distinguish them from traditional litigation. These elements are set out in a contractual commitment among the clients and their chosen collaborative professionals. They are:
- 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
- To engage in open communication and information sharing
- To create shared solutions that take into account the highest priorities of both clients.
For more information about Collaborative Law and Collaborative Practice, see International Academy of Collaborative Professionals or Collaborative Practice California