In a Collaborative Law case (also called Collaborative Divorce), you and your spouse each have your own attorney. At the beginning of the case, both parties and their attorneys agree to settle the legal issues by using cooperative negotiating methods and to refrain from adversarial encounters and court interventions. This is very different than the traditional adversary system where no such commitment exists. The Collaborative Divorce case approach focuses on reaching a cooperative settlement rather than going to trial.
The Collaborative Divorce case process includes voluntary, open and full disclosure of all information and documents related to finances, income and assets, child issues, and spousal maintenance. Settlement discussions often occur in four party conferences between the attorneys and spouses.
A mutually-agreed upon financial specialist may join the process to help the parties understand and make decisions about complex financial or tax related issues. In addition, it is sometimes useful to include a child specialist. Collaborative Divorce case procedures contrast in their openness with the procedures used in the traditional adversary system, where the climate can be distant and secretive.
To represent a client in the Collaborative Law process, an attorney must not only be skilled in collaborative strategies and methods, but understand how to properly screen the case to ensure that you and your spouse are good candidates for this special form of negotiating divorce cases out of court.