Collaborative Process: An Overview

Date: May 1, 2019

Collaborative Process is non-adversarial approach to helping individuals work through the issues arising from separation and divorce. The Collaborative Process is client-focused, allowing individuals to decide what issues they need to address and to work towards constructive solutions without going to court.

In the Collaborative Process, the role of the lawyer is to be the client’s advocate and to help the client identify key issues, gather and exchange information, and communicate in a productive way. In addition to both client’s collaboratively-trained lawyers, additional professionals, such as separation coaches or financial neutrals, can become part of the collaborative team to assist parties to communicate effectively and to solve their issues, with a focus on reaching cost-effective and sustainable solutions.

The Collaborative Process is different than other negotiation processes. In the Collaborative Process, the lawyers, other professionals, and clients all sign a participation agreement a setting out the expectations about how they will work together. One of these shared expectations is that the parties will stay out of Court while trying to resolve their issues. By signing this agreement, the lawyers and other professionals are disqualified from assisting the parties in the event the matter proceeds to Court.

By agreeing to stay out of Court, Collaborative family law cases are able to avoid the positional, adversarial, win-lose tone that negotiations can otherwise take. Instead, people involved in the Collaborative Process can talk about what everyone needs, including children if applicable, and how best to address those needs.

In the Collaborative Process, the parties’ choices – not court rules and procedures – influence the process, the costs, the amount of time, and the steps involved in reaching a lasting agreement.

For more information about the Collaborative Process, including Q&As and full descriptions of the separation coach and financial neutral’s roles, you can visit