Collaborative Family Law is a special type of negotiation which follows a specific set of guidelines. Parties and their specially trained collaborative family lawyers sign a Participation Agreement in which they promise to make full financial disclosure, co-operate fully with one another, and use all means at their disposal to settle the case respectfully and in the best interests of all family members. In this Agreement, they also agree not to go to Court.
If one party starts a Court case, contrary to the Participation Agreement, both lawyers must be removed from the case and the parties must hire new lawyers. This rule creates an incentive for parties not to “throw the baby out with the bathwater” – most people would think twice about going to Court after having invested so much time and energy in settling the case and trying to maintain a respectful relationship with their former spouse.
In Collaborative Family Law, negotiations occur during a series of four-way meetings. In accordance with the Participation Agreement, both parties must make full financial disclosure and conduct themselves respectfully towards one another. The emphasis is on creating an outcome which is fair to all members of the family, rather than a “win/lose” outcome, which typically occurs in Litigation.
It is also hoped that through this process, both former spouses can develop a workable, respectful co-parenting relationship so that they can raise their children together as peacefully as possible – something all children deserve. As with negotiated settlements, the end result of Collaborative Family Law is a Separation Agreement.
For more information on Collaborative Family Law, visit http://www.collaborativepracticetoronto.com/