What is Collaborative Law?

To reach agreements using the Collaborative Practice process, you begin by agreeing not to go to court. You, your lawyer, your spouse and your spouse's lawyer sign a written contract which commits all of you to a series of meetings in which you will work creatively to arrive at agreements out of court. In most cases, financial and mental health professionals are also involved. This is the "team model" of Collaborative Practice. These professionals can actually save time and money by advising on financial issues, communication, emotions and child development. Their skills facilitate a better understanding of the issues and the consequences of choices the parties must make, and thus can make the options clearer and the outcome more satisfactory for all.

The primary forum for negotiating an agreement is meetings with both parties, their two lawyers, and the other professionals. It usually takes several such team meetings to resolve all the issues. Between meetings, each party meets separately with his or her lawyer or other professionals.