Collaborative Law is a process that enables divorcing couples and couples involved in other family law disputes, each represented by counsel, to resolve their differences in a nonadversarial setting.
HOW DOES THE COLLABORATIVE LAW PROCESS WORK?
The process operates in an environment grounded in good faith, cooperation, integrity, honesty and professional ethics to facilitate the resolution of the couple's differences without litigation.
The couple and their lawyers enter into a Participation Agreement wherein they agree to work together to achieve a satisfactory settlement in a cooperative manner. (Also see the Statement of Principles of Collaborative Law.)
The participants agree to voluntarily disclose all relevant information and to cooperatively resolve all issues outside of litigation. Settlement is accomplished through informal discussions, settlement conferences, mediations and other amicable alternatives. The use of experts may be necessary and should be encouraged where their involvement can assist in the collaborative process. Collaborative Family Lawyers work toward settling your case rather than preparing for and conducting a trial, resulting in savings, both financial and emotional, to you and your family.
WHAT ARE THE POTENTIAL BENEFITS OF COLLABORATIVE LAW?
- Mutually agreed upon settlement
- Atmosphere of cooperation
- Anxiety reduction
- Retaining control of the settlement process
- No adversarial environment
- Greater privacy and confidentiality
- Savings of time and of money
WHAT HAPPENS IF SETTLEMENT CANNOT BE REACHED?
Both lawyers must withdraw from the case. The lawyers will assist the parties in finding new counsel who can pursue their case in court, and will work to make a smooth transition for their clients.
HOW DO I START A COLLABORATIVE LAW PROCESS?
Share this information with your spouse and encourage him or her to also hire an attorney who is familiar with and committed to the collaborative law process. The attorneys can then confer and schedule the first four-way meeting to review your situation and sign a participation agreement if the collaborative approach is appropriate for your case.
MY SPOUSE HAS ALREADY INITIATED A LEGAL PROCEEDING. IS IT STILL POSSIBLE FOR US TO USE THE COLLABORATIVE LAW PROCESS?
Yes. If your spouse's lawyer will agree to utilize the collaborative law process, the action can be dismissed or abated.
WHO IS A COLLABORATIVE FAMILY LAWYER?
In Florida, a collaborative family lawyer is a member in good standing of The Florida Bar who is committed to the process of dissolving marriages and resolving family law matters through non-litigation alternatives.