If your relationship is breaking down, collaboration can help you have open and constructive discussions with the other party involved. This helps you avoid any messy court battles over children, finances and property.
Collaboration works similarly to mediation in that it promotes a calm, pragmatic atmosphere where common ground is found. The aim is to maintain good relationships and, if the separation involves children, work towards a solution that is best for the family as a whole. Where collaboration differs from mediation is that each party has a collaboratively-trained lawyer representing them, unlike mediation which has one neutral mediator guiding discussions between both parties.
At the start of the collaboration process, both parties and lawyers agree in writing that they will not go to court. This means that later, should one person change their mind and decide to go to court, then both lawyers have to stop representing and the couple involved have to get new lawyers. All information discussed during collaboration is confidential. Therefore, should the process not work, none of the information shared can be used later in court.
Collaboration can help if you:
- Want to reach an outcome that is beneficial to the entire family.
- Want to be in control of the outcome, rather than relying on the courts to make decisions.
- Want to separate with dignity and avoid confrontation and arguments.
- Are open to communication and looking for mutually-agreeable solutions.
- Are willing to be honest with each other about your financial situations.
- Want to be respectful to each other and find a way that helps you co-parent successfully after separation.
To use collaborative law to resolve your issues, both parties must use a collaboratively-trained lawyer.