Collaborative Family Law
When couples decide to separate, they have a number of available options with respect to process:
- – The spouses retain family lawyers to negotiate for them.
- – If negotiations break down, the lawyers proceed to the Court to have a Judge resolve the issues.
- – The spouses retain a neutral third party to facilitate effective communication and negotiation.
- – Any agreements reached in mediation are taken to lawyers for independent legal advice before the agreement is completed and signed.
- – The spouses retain collaborative lawyers as their legal advisers and negotiation coaches.
- – The lawyers are retained solely to help the parties create their best possible settlement.
- – If either party wishes to go to the Court, both clients must retain new lawyers.
How Does Collaborative Law Work?
Each spouse retains a specially-trained collaborative lawyer. The couple and the lawyers sign a written agreement called a Participation Agreement, stating that all will negotiate in good faith, make full disclosure, put the child(s)’ interests first, act with integrity, and seek solutions that work for each party but also for the family as a whole.
The Participation Agreement provides that the lawyers are retained solely to help the parties reach a mutually acceptable settlement out of Court. When necessary, parenting coaches, child specialists and financial specialists are brought into the team to contribute to creative problem solving.
If either party decides to go to the Court, the services of both lawyers, and all professionals involved in the case are eliminated. This rule ensures that everyone at the table is focused on only one thing – achieving the best possible settlement.
After each client meets with his or her own lawyer individually, the couple and the lawyers meet in a series of face-to-face settlement meetings during which they decide on the issues to be settled, resolve immediate issues regarding financial and parenting arrangements, exchange all important information, share interests, goals and values, develop an array of settlement options, and choose the settlement option that provides the best outcome.
The number of meetings depends upon the complexity of issues and the emotional dynamics between the parties. After our initial meeting, we can provide a fair estimate to the number of settlement meetings that may be required.
The collaborative process is dignified and cost-effective. The parties generally find that their ability to communicate with each other for the sake of their children is improved over the course of the collaborative negotiations. The result is a settlement customized to the needs of each family.
Benefits to You:
- Both parties are fully involved throughout the process and retain control of decisions affecting the family.
- Communication and negotiation is respectful and efficient.
- The parties themselves determine the timing of the process.
- Each person makes full and complete financial disclosure.
- Other professional advice and input is available when needed from parenting coaches, child specialists, mediators, financial specialists, accountants and tax experts.
- The process affords both parties complete privacy and confidentiality.
- The child(s)’ well-being is a primary focus in all discussions.
- The process allows for a comprehensive resolution that addresses all of the interests of the spouses, including financial, legal and psychological interests.
- Settlements reached in the collaborative process tend to be highly satisfactory and durable.
- The collaborative process provides control over all decisions to the parties themselves.
- The collaborative process provides an efficient, cost-effective mechanism for making changes to agreements from time-to-time when needed.
- Our collaborative lawyers are at the forefront of collaborative law in Canada.
Please call us at + (905) 457 1660