Collaborative law is a new approach to resolving the legal issues surrounding your divorce/separation that is gaining popularity. The premise of collaborative law is to allow for a peaceable resolution through a process of joint participation versus the adversarial system that everyone expects. Collaborative law itself is not a type of law but rather a process of working toward a mutually agreeable solution to the issues before a couple as they separate taking into account the family.
With the collaborative law process, each party has their own attorney and the attorneys for both the parties and the parties all meet in a joint four-party conference and work towards a settlement. During the process there may be numerous four-way conferences before a final settlement can be reached. The final settlement once reached will be drafted and may be in the form of a separation agreement or a consent order.
The process begins by all parties entering into a collaborative law contract whereby each party commits to working toward an out of court settlement of the case and this is usually done at the first four-way conference. The parties will agree to employ joint appraisers, accountants or other such professionals thus alleviating unnecessary costs. At the end of the process if the process is successful the parties will draft the documents needed to finalize the agreement. If the process is unsuccessful and the case proceeds to court, the attorney’s must withdraw and assist the parties in finding new representation as part of the agreement. This allows there to be open and frank discussion during the meetings. Another alternative to the parties going to court can be agreed by the parties in the initial collaborative law contract. This alternative would be that if the process does not provide a resolution, the parties would submit to binding arbitration and employ a third party to hear the case. This is usually more cost effective and timely for all involved.
The benefits to the collaborative law process are that the parties are involved in all aspects of the settlement procedure for start to finish. In addition, information necessary to effectuate the settlement of the case is freely shared prior to and during each four-party conference. Finally, the costs of the collaborative process can and should be substantially less than that of a traditional litigated case because the attorney’s time will be minimized by not having to prepare a case for trial.
As with everything in life, each case should be evaluated to determine if the collaborative process will work for your family. There are going to be situations where anger, bitterness and resentment may be too great to proceed with a collaborative case; however, if the parties are able to work through these emotions and look at the big picture of resolving a case, in the end they will find that the collaborative process is quicker, cost effective and a winning alternative to the traditional approach of divorce law.
It is important to make sure that your attorney has been properly trained and is affiliated with a collaborative law group. If both parties are interested in the collaborative process then, they should chose attorneys that have been through sufficient training to facilitate an effective collaborative law setting. Our firm is affiliated with the Wake Collaborative Family Law Group and have undergone extensive training in the collaborative law setting such that we will be able to make your collaborative law process positive and rewarding. The ultimate goal of the collaborative law process will be working toward a fair settlement for the family.
If you are currently involved in divorce or foresee one, it is important that you know the law that are there protect your rights and your children. Please contact our office today for legal help in your separation, divorce or child custody matters. Williams Law Group, PC will use proven legal strategies, strong evidence and aggressive negotiating to ensure that you present the strongest case. We can be reached at (919)773-1440 or via email.