• Collaborative Law - Take Your Divorce Off the Battlefield
  • November 28, 2013
  • Law Firm: MacElree Harvey, Ltd. - West Chester Office
  • Collaborative Law is a voluntary process whereby the parties, with the assistance of their respective lawyers and other professionals, make divorce decisions together based on their understanding of their own views, each other’s, and the reality the entire family faces. This model offers a holistic approach to divorce that considers the family as a whole, including the children. Collaborative Law, as it relates to Family Law, focuses on reaching a client-centered agreement through an open and transparent negotiation process that is designed by the participants themselves, while preserving their resources and reducing the acrimony between them.

    Who is Involved and How Does it Work?

    Collaborative Law often involves a team of professionals in addition to attorneys, such as financial experts, neutral child development specialists, neutral process facilitators, and even neutral coaches for each individual. The matter progresses towards resolution through interest-based negotiations at joint meetings between both spouses and their advisors. However, just because spouses agree on a collaborative process, it does not mean the process always will be conflict-free. Emotions can rise as resolutions to the issues are explored. Nevertheless, there is value in the process as the parties learn to own their conflict and tension. Problem-solving and emphasis on process is paramount along with attempting to resolve the matter in a way that benefits everyone involved. The parties openly discuss the law and become informed about it, with the understanding that the law and who “wins” is not necessarily the only basis for decisions.

    What are the Basic Requirements?

    The participants must commit to transparency. Transparency means an honest, voluntary, and good faith exchange of information. Participants must commit to working toward solutions that consider the interests of all family members. Participants typically enter into participation agreements, agreeing to submit to the collaborative process. If negotiations fail and court intervention is needed after a cooling off period, the attorneys must withdraw and the participants must retain new counsel to proceed in court. Divorce is not simply a court procedure or an event. It involves the thoughtful restructuring of the entire family.