Collaborative Divorce & Law
“Unless both sides win, no agreement can be permanent.”— Jimmy Carter , 39th United States President (1977-84), Nobel Prize for Peace in 2002
I practice Collaborative Law, including Collaborative Divorce and Collaborative Civil Law.
Collaborative Law or Collaborative Practice is a voluntary dispute resolution process in which parties settle without resort to litigation. The intention is to resolve disputes in a low-conflict environment and to avoid the uncertain outcome of court. In this manner, settlements can be crafted that best meet the specific needs of both parties (and their children, in domestic relations matters) without the underlying threat of litigation.
The voluntary process is initiated when the couple (or parties to a civil dispute) sign a contract (a “participation agreement”) binding each other to the process and disqualifying their respective lawyer’s right to represent either one in any future litigation related to the matter at hand.
The collaborative process can be used to facilitate the resolution of a broad range of other family issues besides divorce, including child support and child custody and the drafting of pre- and post-marital contracts (sometimes referred to as pre-nups or post-nups). As the traditional method of drawing up pre-marital contracts is oppositional, many couples prefer to begin their married life with documents created consensually and mutually.
The collaborative divorce process also offers the added benefit of being cost-efficient for the involved parties. As the necessary tasks in the collaborative model are assigned to specialist professionals without duplication of effort, cost savings are realized. These cost efficiencies, in addition to other potential benefits, have led to the use of collaborative law in matters other than domestic relations, including mergers and acquisitions, small business breakups, probate matters, and construction disputes. Collaborative Practice is particularly well-suited for the resolution of disputes between parties who need or want to continue to have a business or familial relationship after the current disagreement is resolved.
In Collaborative Law or Collaborative Divorce:
1. The parties sign a collaborative participation agreement describing the nature and scope of the matter;
2. The parties voluntarily disclose all information which is relevant and material to the matter that must be decided;
3. The parties agree to use good faith efforts in their negotiations to reach a mutually acceptable settlement;
4. Each party must be represented by a lawyer whose representation terminates upon the undertaking of any contested court proceeding;
5. The parties may engage mental health and financial professionals whose engagement terminates upon the undertaking of any contested court proceeding; and
6. The parties may jointly engage other experts as needed.
–derived in part from the website of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals
Contact Steven Gregory today to discuss the collaborative approach to your divorce, child custody, child support, or other legal issues such as probate, construction disputes, securities, or other civil matters.