What is Collaborative Law?
Collaborative Law is a new way of handling a divorce dispute that uses specially-trained lawyers to settle the divorce issues with respect and without a trial. In a collaborative law case, no party may even threaten to take the case to court. If a lawyer should take such an action, they would be barred from representing their client permanently.
Why Do I Need a Specially Trained Lawyer?
A lawyer trained in collaborative law is necessary because they’re taught to come at a case from a totally different perspective from trial lawyers. Lawyers who go to trial, do so with the intent of getting the best deal possible for their client no matter what the cost, financially or emotionally.
Collaborative lawyers come into the process with the goal of creating a harmonious settlement. They encourage good-faith, honesty and respect during the process and there is no threatening, or finger-pointing allowed.
Can All Divorces Be Handled Through the Collaborative Law Process?
That would be nice, but unfortunately not. The collaborative law process is more about maintaining a good relationship than it is about getting what you have coming to you. People who want to maintain a connection with their spouse be it because of their children, or extended family or religious beliefs, will benefit from this process.
But I’m Still Really Angry At My Spouse.
No one expects you to walk into any kind of divorce proceeding without some anger, fear or regret. The job of a collaborative lawyer is to help you get past the emotional rough spots while still moving forward on practical matters.
If the Process Doesn’t Work, Can I Still Go to Court?
For the collaborative law process to work properly, going to court is not an option. There are rare cases where everyone agrees to let a judge decide one particularly difficult issue, but it’s not an option you should keep in mind.
If one partner is not acting in good faith by hiding assets, or generally not “playing by the rules,” the law requires that the attorney for that person withdraw and the process is ended. The divorce would likely go to court and the offending spouse would have to find a new lawyer to represent him.