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Collaborative Law

Not all divorces do or should go to trial. Many issues can be resolved in a more amicable fashion. Working collaboratively either formally or informally, or going to mediation, can be an advantageous route for parents seeking to maintain a cordial relationship for the sake of raising their children post-divorce, or for clients looking to maintain a certain level of privacy in their divorce.

Collaborative law is a way to resolve disagreements and conflicts by removing the disputed matter from the litigious court room and treating the process as a way to engage in problem solving and to make peace. Instead of fighting your divorce out in front of the judge, you and your spouse will be working together to negotiate an amicable settlement out of court

What happens in a collaborative divorce?

The parties to a collaborative divorce retain separate attorneys whose job it is to help them settle the dispute. This is one of the major differences between collaborative divorce and mediation; rather than working together with a single mediator, each spouse has his or her own lawyer to provide counsel and advocacy. No one may go to court. If that should occur, the collaborative law process terminates and both attorneys are disqualified from any further involvement in the case.

Each party agrees to honestly and openly disclose all documents and information relating to the issues. The fact that deciding to engage in adversarial litigation would require each party to discharge his or her attorney encourages this free and open disclosure, since there is less concern about saying things that could later be held against one. All participants agree to insulate the children from the proceeding and to act in such a way as to minimize the impact of the divorce on them.

The parties agree to implement outside experts where necessary in a cooperative fashion and share the costs related to those experts. Depending on the circumstances of the case, it may be useful or even necessary to retain professionals including real estate appraisers, business appraisers, parenting consultants, vocational evaluators, or accountants who can share their insight and assist in reaching agreements that are fair to all involved.

If you are interested in collaborative law and want to learn whether this approach may be appropriate for your divorce, contact McKay Law now for an initial consultation.