Collaborative law is the newest approach for resolving family disputes. Stuart Webb, a Minnesota attorney created the concept and collaborative law is rapidly spreading though out the United States, Canada and the rest of the world.
In collaborative law, clients and their attorneys commit themselves by signing a participation agreement to resolve the client’s issues without going to court. Total emphasis is on settlement through interest-based negotiations versus the traditional method of using adversarial tactics. Focusing on the clients’ real needs and interests leads to more creative and equitable agreements.
Collaborative law uses a limited scope of representation, whereby if an agreement cannot be reached; the attorneys must withdraw and cannot represent the client in a litigated court action. Collaborative law requires full, free and open disclosure of relevant information.
Collaborative law also offers a team model where mental health professionals and financial professionals can be involved depending on a family’s needs. Mental health professionals can serve as coaches to help clients with communication issues and parenting plans. They may also serve as a child specialist, providing a voice to the children in the process. Financial specialists can help with budgets, financial projections and tax issues.
Some Advantages of using Collaborative Law:
- Control and Privacy – Clients control the outcome and timing of their case.
- Less stress and improved communication – The process helps clients to engage in productive communication, especially beneficial in cases involving children.
- Individualized Agreements – Interest based negotiations can lead to an agreement that best restructures your particular family.
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