Collaborative Family Law Practice is a strategy of assisting people going through a breakdown of their relationship whereby each party retains a lawyer to assist them in negotiating a resolution of their issues in a cooperative rather than adversarial manner. It is understood and contracted that the lawyers retained will not represent the parties in court if they are unable to reach a resolution; accordingly, they are committed to resolving the matter through productive good faith negotiations resulting in a Separation Agreement signed by both sides.
If experts are required to value assets, assist in financial planning, address the particular needs of children with special needs or otherwise assist the parties to reach a viable and cooperative solution, then they are retained jointly to provide their expertise to both parties; this stands in stark contrast to the adversarial approach of retaining separate experts to provide evidence and then critique the evidence provided by the other side.
When successful, the collaborative family law strategy produces an agreement that addresses the needs of both parties in accordance with their legal rights, interests and priorities for parenting the children in a confidential and cost-effective manner. When it is not successful, the parties are free to retain new lawyers and proceed to the court system to seek the resolution of their issues through that process.