By Justin Clark
Collaborative Family Law is a voluntary dispute resolution process that is worthy of strong consideration as the best option for resolving all issues flowing from the breakdown of a marriage or committed relationship. This creative interest based process offers separating couples an inter-disciplinary approach designed to reduce the stress and challenges associated with the separation and divorce process. The process is designed to be safe and supportive so as to protect the long-term interests and relationships of the entire family.
In the Collaborative process, separating spouses and their lawyers work together to resolve the issues without going to court. The lawyers and the separating couple work together as a team in order to creatively, efficiently, and sensitively resolve issues including financial support, division of assets, and parenting. Under this process, the couple can avail the services of child specialists, and financial advisors, among other professionals. The team can be tailored to meet the specific requirements of each case.
The process requires the participation of both the spouses and their lawyers working together in good faith, with full disclosure, and with integrity to resolve the issues that normally arise from the separation. Although there is no one size fits all approach to be taken in these difficult situations, among the many benefits that can flow to spouses and their children from this process, include but are in no way limited to:
- Respect and dignity;
- Autonomy and creativity;
- A timely cost effective resolution; and
- Preservation of relationships
Collaborative Practice involves conducting a series of meetings that lead to the creation of a comprehensive Separation Agreement, Cohabitation Agreement or Marriage Contract. It commences with the drafting and execution of a Participation Agreement that commits both the parties and their team to working toward a settlement without taking recourse to the courts. The process involves the exchange of full and comprehensive financial information. The parties are encouraged to reach an arrangement that meets the goals and objectives of the family to the extent possible.
The Collaborative Practice process is a good way to address and move past the communication challenges that separating spouses generally encounter. The process assists the separating spouses to communicate, listen, and take control and ownership of the resolution as opposed to having one imposed by a court. By holding a series of meetings between the separating spouses and their respective lawyers, the Collaborative Practice encourages spouses to resolve issues and foster positive communications, even when addressing difficult issues.
At Simmons da Silva LLP we have a highly-skilled group of professionals who have the necessary expertise and are committed to offering a collaborative solution to separation and divorce. Our lawyers are committed to utilizing this process where appropriate in order to reduce the emotional and financial costs that result from separation or divorce. Please contact Justin Clark at our office to discuss this process, and how we can assist you in resolving your family law matter.
Justin Clark is a Partner at Simmons da Silva LLP
Disclaimer: This article is only intended for information purposes and is not intended to be construed as legal advice.