Collaborative Law

Collaborative Law is, quite simply, a different way to divorce.

Collaborative Law is a voluntary dispute resolution process in which the parties reach agreement without going to court. For those couples who are willing to seek creative and amicable problem-solving, Collaborative Law provides a constructive alternative to conventional divorce.

Members of the Collaborative Professionals of Central Pennsylvania have been specially trained in the Collaborative Process and are committed to using this approach to resolve disputes respectfully.

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HOW IT WORKS

In an adversarial, court-based process, one party sues the other, setting in motion procedures which pit the parties against each other. This often has a significant emotional impact on the parties, their children and their families.

At its core, Collaborative Law is a non-adversarial process in which the parties and their lawyers, after agreeing not to go to court, negotiate a settlement agreement which meets the needs of both parties. Collaborative Law allows parties to maintain control over their separation, divorce, custody, and other family matters rather than relinquishing decisions to the court, which often is ill-equipped to address these issues.

Collaborative Law also affords the parties an opportunity to look beyond the pain and anxiety of the present so they can plan for the future. This is especially important for couples with children, since the parents prioritize their children’s needs and ease the transition to two households.

THE PROCESS

Collaborative Law is a unique and voluntary conflict resolution process. It is based on a shared belief that the parties and their families should make decisions and arrive at solutions that will work best for their individual circumstances, instead of having a court do that for them.

  • Each spouse, partner or parent retains a Collaborative attorney to represent their interests and to help them advocate effectively for themselves.
  • All parties sign a Participation Agreement that commits them to settlement without going to court.
  • The needs of the children are a priority.
  • The parties agree to negotiate in good faith and to openly and honestly disclose all information that is important to making decisions.
  • Both parties and their attorneys meet in face-to-face discussions – outside of a courtroom – to exchange information about assets, debts, sources and amounts of income and any other matters important to the family.
  • Other professionals such as accountants, appraisers, communication coaches and child specialists may be retained to assist the parties in obtaining information or developing options for resolution.
  • The parties reach a mutually-acceptable resolution that they believe to be fair and which meets their respective short- and long-term needs.
  • The Collaborative attorneys prepare a settlement agreement and any other legal documents required to effectuate the parties’ resolution.

 

Click here to learn how to get your Collaborative Process started