WHAT IS COLLABORATIVE LAW?

 

Collaborative Law is a name that has become synonymous with a special process and strategy used to solve legal and interpersonal disputes, especially in the family law context.

The use of the Collaborative Law Process has become the preferred method of family law dispute resolution.   The conventional process of litigation commonly used divorce and other types of suits involving children can drive the parties who are already separated from each other even farther apart.  It takes an immediate toll on individual dignity, and often children suffer the most.  Litigation is always expensive, the more heated the litigation, the more it consumes your money, time and emotional health.   Litigation promotes a vicious and permanent cycle that tends to continue even after the lawsuit is over.

Collaborative Law promotes cooperation, honesty and integrity, to facilitate the future well being of extended family units.  Collaborative Law promotes the psychological and continued financial health of the parents and children following divorce or custody disputes.   While a marriage or other relationship may be ending, the Collaborative Law process recognizes that relationships and obligations often continue - especially when children are involved. It allows spouses to formulate an agreement that focuses on their most important individual and mutual goals. This process helps all family members move forward in a positive way, rather than dwell on the past.  Children are best protected from harm when the dispute resolution process minimizes the fear, anxiety, and animosity that are common in traditional litigation methods.  The Collaborative Process promotes and encourages the learning of skills needs to effectively co-parent after the parents’ breakup.

The Collaborative Process relies on each party and their attorney to be able to work together to discuss difficult and complex disputes in an efficient cooperative  manner.   All parties agree to be honest and transparent in the timely exchange of relevant information.   The Collaborative Process requires both the attorneys and the client’s to make a “paradigm shift” away from the traditional litigation model.   In addition to a new and alien method of problem solving, the parties must be able to effectively communicate with each other without recrimination and animosity.  

The Collaborative Law Process presents a more humane and respectful choice, in that it promotes the use of a positive process using problem solving techniques.   It is a formal process in which the parties and their lawyers agree in writing to make a good faith attempt to reach a mutually-agreeable settlement without court intervention. Working together, using principled protocols, the parties to the dispute work through a choreography of processes without the threat or use of court action.   The parties craft a way to resolve their dispute in a way that considers everyone's needs and minimizes conflict.   The Collaborative process allows the parties to the dispute to maintain control of their case. They work together, in private, to find a way using the values of the parties to meet each individual's needs so that the couple may make a smoother transition from being married to being single.  The goal is to prevent a protracted, bitter legal fight that will inevitably impact the children and families of the participants.   No lawyer, judge, or mental health professional will dictate or force any decision upon a party as long as the case remains in the collaborative process.   No one may go to court, or even threaten to do so, as long as they are in the Collaborative Process.

Collaborative Law is a practical solution-oriented alternative to traditional divorce.  Instead of focusing on getting the largest financial reward no matter the human or financial cost, the parties try to find "win-win" solutions that meet the needs of both sides.  The core of the process is interest-based negotiation whereby the critical goals and interests of both sides are articulated and considered as solutions are explored and identified. 

In the Collaborative Process, the parties maintain privacy, dignity and control of their mutual destiny.  In the unlikely event that a party feels that court is a better alternative, the Collaborative Law process terminates and both spouses must hire new lawyers to take their case to court, however, the services or testimony of any neutral professional used in the Collaborative Process is prevented from participating in any future litigation.

Each lawyer on the Collaborative team owes a primary allegiance and duty to their own client; however, they also know that the way to serve the highest interests of their clients is to act with integrity in the spirit of cooperation and mutual respect.

While a marriage or other relationship may be ending, the Collaborative Law process recognizes that relationships and obligations often continue - especially when children are involved. It allows spouses to formulate an agreement that focuses on their most important individual and mutual goals. This process helps all family members move forward in a positive way, rather than dwell on the past.  Children are best protected from harm when the dispute resolution process minimizes the fear, anxiety, and animosity that are common in traditional litigation methods.  The Collaborative Process promotes and encourages the learning of skills needs to effectively co-parent after the parents’ breakup.

 

Get Started - Schedule an Appointment - Please call and schedule an appointment for a consultation.   An in-depth interview usually takes at least one to two hours to explore and understand the dynamics of a client's situation and explore practical options and resolutions to legal issues. The normal cost of an initial consultation is only $175.00.


Gary Kollmeier
Gary Kollmeier

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