Like mediation, Collaborative Practice is an important alternative to adversarial litigation. Unlike mediation, however, Collaborative Practice can provide a more supportive and safer environment than other dispute resolution processes since each party retains his/her own settlement lawyer, and both lawyers are present or involved in every aspect of the negotiations. Collaborative Practice also offers the option to call on other specialists, including mental health specialists and a neutral financial professional. Collaborative divorce also requires full disclosure from both parties and does so in a confidential setting.
Parties will benefit from the Project because it introduces a new, no or low cost, flexible, client driven way for parties to work as a team with trained Collaborative Professionals to resolve disputes respectfully, without going to court. Each party will have the support and guidance of a lawyer, and possibly also child specialists, financial specialists and divorce coaches as part of the “settlement team” when necessary. The Collaborative Process fosters open and honest communications between the parties, allowing them to get to the heart of the matter and to determine each party’s needs instead of focusing on positions. As a result, the parties become a critical part of the process, resolving their conflicts through mutual problem solving, and are empowered because they maintain control over the process instead of leaving the decision-making to a judge.