A look inside the typical collaborative law process

Date: August 21, 2019

Let’s take a look at the process you will follow after agreeing to pursue a collaborative resolution to your divorce or separation.

Collaborative family lawyers are trained to find cooperative solutions that both partners agree with, focusing on both parties’ concerns, and encouraging partners to be open an honest with each other while ensuring that all legal rights and procedures are followed.

Below you’ll find a snapshot of what that might look like at a glance. This isn’t an exhaustive outline of the process as it will be adjusted and customized based on your needs and objectives.

1) Agreeing to Move Forward & Understanding The Collaborative Process

Before beginning with the collaborative resolution process, you will sign a Collaborative Law Participation Agreement. Your lawyer will review the agreement with you to make sure you understand the process and confirm that it will meet your needs.

You will also need to review and confirm any other agreements made with other professionals involved in the process, like a financial planner or family support export.

This is a client-driven process: you and your partner will decide on how to proceed forward in terms of scheduling and location of meetings, and the order in which you will address your goals and concerns.

2) Setting Your Goals & Identifying Concerns

Once the groundwork for the collaborative process is laid out, your lawyers will help both parties identify and work towards your objectives and address your concerns.

This is a critical step, and often one of the core reasons why you may choose to seek out a collaborative resolution to a divorce or separation: making sure your concerns and goals are understood and addressed in a fair fashion isn’t a guarantee in court.

You will also look at any time sensitive or pressing issues immediately, i.e. financial matters, or concerns involving your children.

3) Putting Your Cards On The Table 

Gathering and disclosing as much information as possible is the name of the game when it comes to arriving at a resolution that will suit both parties’ needs.

This includes financial statements, income statements, expenses, shared and individual property, etc.

Your lawyers will help you decide how best to gather and organize this information, and how you’ll use it as part of the Collaborative Process.

4) Planning For The Next Meeting

The collaborative process typically involves a handful of meetings. Toward the conclusion of your first full meeting, you will decide what to deal with at the next meeting. Setting the agenda early will help keep everything on track.

You will determine what both parties need to have prepared for the next meeting, and touch on what your objectives are for that specific appointment.

If you have questions about the collaborative process or would like more information on how non-adversarial divorces or separations are conducted, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.