Collaborative Practice is an out-of-court resolution process for separating and divorcing couples. With an emphasis on full disclosure, respect, and open communication, this approach is client-directed and family-focused.
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Working with collaboratively trained family lawyers, family professionals, and/or financial professionals allows you to address issues from a legal, financial, and emotional perspective and arrive at a solution that works for everyone in your family.
With shorter timelines than more traditional divorce processes, Collaborative Practice is a cost-effective and efficient alternative.
Collaborative Practice provides you with the support you need and facilitates the creation of a custom resolution that accounts for the well being of you, your spouse, and your children.
Clients, with the support of their chosen professionals, are in charge and make their own agreements rather than giving control to a court or arbitrator.
Respectful and direct communication is encouraged throughout the Collaborative Process.
Settlement occurs out of court, so your personal information and the settlement you reach remains private.
The Collaborative Process is ideal for spouses seeking an alternative to traditional, court-based approaches to divorce and separation. It’s for individuals who have children together and want to maintain the best possible family relationships, now and in the future. It’s for spouses who recognize that they’re the best at making decisions about family and finance, and not someone else. And it’s for people who place a high value on taking personal responsibility for handling conflicts with integrity. Here's how it works:
You and your spouse each hire a specially trained Collaborative Family Lawyer who is registered with CPT and, if needed, you may also choose to work with collaboratively trained neutral family and financial professionals. Adding professionals does not necessarily mean added cost, as the goal is to distribute work between professionals in a coordinated manner. With their support and guidance, you and your spouse work together in a cooperative, non-adversarial fashion.
You and your spouse promise in writing to voluntarily disclose all financial and other relevant information, to communicate respectfully, and to act in good faith as you negotiate toward a settlement. There are no threatening letters between lawyers, no affidavits with hurtful accusations, and no stressful court appearances. Better still, by avoiding court, your personal and financial information remains completely private.
For more information, have a look at the participation agreement.
Settlement meetings are structured discussions in which you, your spouse, and your lawyers communicate and negotiate directly with one another. This constructive and forward focused meeting – and the whole Collaborative Process in general – is very much a team-based approach to resolving family law disputes. It is often helpful to include other Collaborative professionals, such as family and financial specialists in this meeting. With your team of collaborative professionals, you and your spouse are encouraged to work through your emotions in order to make comprehensive legal, financial, and child-related agreements.
In the Collaborative Process, an interest-based problem solving approach is encouraged and decision-making is solely up to you and your spouse. Your Collaborative Professionals are there to help you prioritize and communicate your most important goals and keep settlement discussions focused on crafting creative and customized solutions, specific to the problems and concerns of both you and your spouse. Because of this, future conflict resolution can become easier to manage and carried out with integrity and respect.
Once an understanding is reached on all of the issues and both you and your spouse are satisfied with the balance that has been struck, a written agreement is drafted by the lawyers. Once signed by you and your spouse, this becomes your Separation Agreement, which is a binding and enforceable contract.
Collaboratively Trained Lawyers who provide legal guidance and advice throughout the process to ensure that you feel informed and confident as you make decisions and reach agreements.
Financial Professionals who provide unbiased information and assistance, and help you reach a fiscally responsible settlement. These professionals can be financial planners, accountants, chartered business valuators, and/or pension experts.
Family Professionals who support you and provide important parenting advice to ensure that your children’s needs are met throughout the process, and moving forward. They are parenting mediators, therapists, and coaches.