Collaborative Law

Do you like getting the government intimately involved in your life?  Not many people do.  Family law does just that.  It’s the government telling you where to live, how to live, whom to talk to, and what happens to your property, your children, and your future income.  I don’t know many people who like it. Even with the best of intentions by the court it can be a very distasteful process and the results are usually a one-size fits all solution that they use.  That one-size solution is like a size 6 shoe, it only fits a very small minority of feet.

Collaborative Law is a system that allows the parties in a family law dispute to work together to come to a solution that works for them.  Collaborative law is immersed in a lot of modern management feel-good techniques and terminology, but it works for a lot of very good reasons.

Collaborative law can be less expensive.  In traditional family law matters, lawyers for each party struggle to present a better case to the court.  Their favorite tool is something lawyers call “discovery.”  This is the legal authority to demand every document and fact from the other side that they can possibly imagine and the other side must provide it.  They ask for everything because they don’t know what is there.  So the lawyers have to spend time and money collecting what is often unimportant, and then spend time and money trying to find the important needles in the discovery haystack.  In collaborative law, your lawyer and you spend less time reading through years’ of monthly utilities bills that have no significance to your lives, and more time working on the things that are going to matter.

Collaborative law is less intrusive.  In traditional family law matters, every personal detail in your life is made public record, even allegations that can’t be proven.  Collaborative law is becoming more popular among people with public lives, and even among people who just like to keep private lives private, because in collaborative law you develop your final plan in private sessions and only go to court with an agreement.

Collaborative law is less impersonal.  The courts have developed answers to problems over the years, especially for child custody, that works well for the courts.  For instance, they have the standard possession order, which might work well for someone, but doesn’t work well for most.  You can always negotiate a different possession order, but the adversarial system makes the development of a tailored possession order very difficult because each side’s lawyer is aiming to get the most they can, and thus discussions are rarely creative.  Collaborative law allows for non-adversarial discussions to take place, which often results in solutions that take into account the real lives of the people affected.

Collaboration Works.  Statistics show that collaborative law works.  It is a no-court, transparent process, interest based-negotiation.  Lawyers in a collaborative case must agree that if the collaborative process breaks down, they must withdraw their representation and cannot work with the client in a traditional court.  This means the lawyers have no incentive to escalate confrontation, and clients have an incentive to not start paying for a whole new process to start with a new team of lawyers.  And why would the client want to start a new process that is mostly out of his control when the collaborative process gives much of the control to the client?

Collaborative Law keeps you in Control.  Collaborative law works, is usually much cheaper, and gets better fitting results without exposing all your private life for the world to see.  I think collaborative law is a growing phenomenon in the world of family law for a good reason.  Please contact me to see how it can work for you.