What is Collaborative Law?
Collaborative Law is a form of alternative dispute resolution in Massachusetts which assures more efficiency in arriving at agreements with the goal of a more peaceful transition moving forward. In the context of family law, it can be used to resolve disputes involving divorce, child custody and support, alimony, division of assets, paternity, and actions for modification. In the Collaborative practice model, you and your lawyer work together with your spouse and your spouse’s lawyer to reach your individual and mutual goals and guide you through the process. A neutral communication coach is also an integral part of process and is trained to work with the parties to reduce emotional intensity and misunderstanding. Input from financial experts or experts concerning child custody and parenting plan may also be sought depending on the circumstances and/or the needs of the parties.
Why hire a Collaborative Law Attorney?
Collaborative Law attorneys complete extensive training in communication and conflict resolution to effectively assist couples who choose to handle their family law dispute through this method rather than fight needlessly in divorce court. Your attorney will be your advocate and advise you about your rights while providing you with the tools and resources to be fully informed as you move forward in the process. Further, the Collaborative Law Process is premised around the privacy of the parties and will not require you to discuss the often uncomfortable details of the breakdown of your marriage or your children as would be necessary if you were to bring these matters to Court through litigation. In the end, the Collaborative Method is also less expensive than going to trial as all of the time spent by your Attorney will be toward reaching an Agreement rather than time spent preparing or waiting at Court that can result in large legal bills.
How do we reach an Agreement through the Collaborative Law Process?
The Collaborative Law practice model utilizes a team approach with the goal of assisting you and your spouse to reach a realistic and lasting agreement moving forward. This is accomplished by the parties meeting together with their attorneys to discuss their mutual goals, needs, and expectations with the assistance of neutral communication coach who is trained to work with the parties to reduce emotional intensity and misunderstanding. The amount of meetings necessary to reach an Agreement depends on the complexity of the matter along with the cooperation of the parties and counsel however, once an Agreement is reached, the parties and their attorney will file the Agreement with the Court and present it to the Judge at an Uncontested Divorce hearing.
Even when there may be the best of intentions and the efforts to resolve marital and/or child related issues through conflict resolution and negotiation, some parties may find an agreement through collaborative divorce simply will not happen for them. If you go through the collaborative process and are still unable to reach a resolution, the divorce case will then go through the court system and the Collaborative Attorney will step aside.