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Collaborative Law

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What Is Collaborative Law?

Collaborative law is a new approach to conflict resolution that provides an effective and fair alternative to the traditional adversarial process.  In collaborative law each party is represented by counsel; however the parties and their counsel agree not to proceed to court during the collaborative law process. Parties and counsel meet together to design a fair and reasonable settlement based on open, complete, and honest disclosure. The focus is on creating a win-win situation. The parties have the opportunity to jointly work with other trained professionals to assist them in designing the most effective resolution to their conflicts.  Additionally, the parties move towards a resolution that empowers the parties to move forward with their lives with a minimum of emotional and financial strain and which enhances the opportunity for compassionate emotional healing for all involved.

What Professional Resources Are Available In The Collaborative Law Process?

Parties in the collaborative law process have the opportunity to jointly or individually work with a variety of other trained professionals who can also assist in resolution of their conflicts. Divorce Coaches, who work with the parties when emotional issues need attention, children’s mental health specialists, and financial professionals who can project future needs through the coming decades, are offered as part of a “team”  approach that  aids the parties to reach the most financially and emotionally sound solution possible.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Collaborative Law?

In the collaborative law approach each party is represented by an attorney, who advises his or her client throughout the process. The end goal is a comprehensive agreement that is fair and reasonable and which is cost effective—both financially and emotionally. In this process, each party agrees to a complete disclosure of all relevant information rather than the protracted “discovery” battles of typical litigation. The collaborative approach offers the participants the opportunity to engage in creative problem solving rather than receiving a final judgment, after trial, from a judge whose knowledge of the parties, their children (if involved), and the issues is limited, of necessity, to courtroom testimony and evidence. The collaborative approach will not work if one party (or both) is deceptive, dishonest, or withholds relevant information. However, the attorney representing such a party, upon learning of that party’s improper actions, if that action is not corrected and with full disclosure, must immediately, pursuant to the collaborative law agreement, withdraw his or her representation. Also, if the collaborative process breaks down, then each party must retain new attorneys if the matter is then to proceed to the court, unless the parties otherwise agree.

Does The Collaborative Process Protect My Rights?

In the collaborative law process each side is represented by counsel whose duty is to represent his or her client’s rights and interests. However, because collaborative law is designed to come up with fair solutions, without litigation, both attorneys seek to promote mutually agreed upon solutions that are fair and reasonable rather than to gain tactical advantages or positions or to make the other party “look bad.”

What Kind Of Conflicts Does Collaborative Law Solve?

Although collaborative law was originally designed as a way to effectively resolve family law issues, it can be used in a wide variety of other conflict situations. Employment issues, contractual issues, intellectual property issues, organizational disputes are just some of the areas in which collaborative law can be effectively utilized.

Visit attorney Daniell's Collaborative Law page...

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