What is Collaborative Law?
Collaborative law is a new way to resolve legal disputes that keeps the participants out of the courtroom and emphasizes a different approach problem-solving. As part of the process, both parties to a dispute retain their own attorneys, who are charged with helping them move towards a final resolution.
No one is permitted to go to court during this process. If either party decides to take a disputed matter to court, the collaborative law process is considered terminated. Neither attorney is able to have any further involvement in the case.
Who is Involved in Collaborative Law?
There are only a few groups of people involved in the collaborative law process:
There are generally two separate people or parties who need help reaching a resolution to a legal matter. These types of matters generally involve divorcing couples, parents or other family members, or business partners.
Each party to a disagreement must have a lawyer that represents their interests. Your attorney will deliver advice and answer any questions about the law or the legal process. But a lawyer that represents during the collaborative law process cannot also represent you if your case later goes to court. If you end the collaborative law process, your working relationship with your lawyer will end as well.
During the collaborative law process, either lawyer might call on a series of professional experts to help deliver an unbiased opinion on the situation or give clarification on certain facts. Experts used are often specialists in the areas of child advocacy, finance, and mental health. These neutral professionals can prove invaluable when the parties are having difficulty reaching common ground.
What is Required in Collaborative Law?
Collaborative law is a unique process that has some very specific guidelines.
The process is 100% voluntary, meaning no one can be coerced into participating. Both parties must agree, or it can’t start or continue.
Each part to the process must agree to full disclosure of all pertinent information to the case. This often includes a disclosure of financial information, parenting issues, and any health history that could impact the issues discussed.
The collaborative law process has no winners or losers since both parties must work together to reach an acceptable solution. Reaching a mutual agreement requires the commitment, respect, and willingness to compromise of both parties.
Benefits of Using a Collaborative Law Approach
The collaborative law approach isn’t for everyone. But, if you are going through a divorce or have another legal conflict, you might wish to consider it for several reasons.
Legal disputes are contentious by nature. You want something, and the other party refuses or wants something else. Rather than battle it out in court, both parties agree to work together to reach a solution. For example, many divorces include minor children who can suffer a great deal because of the way the process pits one parent against the other. Instead, collaborative law allows the parents to approach divorce in a more civil manner as they work through their issues.
If you want to preserve your relationship with the other party, collaborative law is an excellent option. While you may not be the closest of friends or partners in the end, you’ll have a better chance of keeping the lines of communication open for the future.
When you use the collaborative law process, you get more options to resolve your issues. You’ll rarely get the time you need in a litigated case to meet with the other party multiple times and have the involvement of various experts and professionals that can give you a unique perspective on your situation.
The litigation process doesn’t move fast. But you can get your case resolved quicker through the collaborative law process. You won’t have to wait for multiple hearing dates. Instead, you get to choose meeting times that are convenient for you and work to resolve your issues as quickly as you wish.
When you decide to go to court, you can never predict the outcome of your case. You are rolling the dice, so to speak. The participants have total control with collaborative law, where every agreement is by mutual consent.
Speak With a Charlottesville Collaborative Law Attorney
If you are interested in exploring collaborative law, the attorneys at Buck, Toscano & Tereskerz can help. While the collaborative law process is one way to resolve a family law issue, it isn’t the only approach you can use. Our experienced family law attorneys can explain all of your options so that you can make the most informed decision. Call our office at (434) 977-7977 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.