Collaborative Law (also known as Collaborative Practice or Collaborative Divorce) is a cutting edge approach to resolving family disputes that is growing increasingly popular with a public who is dissatisfied with the traditional way of doing things. Collaborative Law is a ‘process’ option, just like divorce mediation or litigation are options. Collaborative Law combines the benefits of mediation (good faith, client driven, etc.) with the support and advice of a collaboratively trained attorney. The process is based on principles of good faith and full disclosure – terms most people do not associate with litigation.
Collaborative Law looks very different from traditional litigation. The defining aspect of Collaborative Law is the participation agreement that is signed by the clients and their attorneys. The agreement says the participants will negotiate their entire dispute and will not go to court or threaten to go to court. If either client proceeds with court action, both attorneys must withdraw and the clients both hire litigating lawyers.
There are two styles of Collaborative Law: Lawyer-only and Interdisciplinary. Lawyer-only is what it sounds like: The process consists of two clients and two collaboratively trained attorneys. The interdisciplinary model gives clients the option of including other professionals on the collaborative team. These professionals include the divorce coach, the child specialist and the financial specialist. The interdisciplinary model recognizes the emotional turmoil associated with family disputes and actively seeks to address that.
Collaborative negotiation takes place in four-way meetings with both clients and both attorneys present. Traditional negotiation involves typically involves the lawyers firing letters back and forth. Collaborative negotiations are ‘interest based,’ meaning that the negotiations focus on maximizing what is fundamentally important to each party, rather than focusing on positions.
Contact Forrest Collins for more information about Collaborative Law services in Portland and the surrounding areas. Additionally, you can find more information at the Oregon Association of Collaborative Professionals’ website at www.collaborativepracticeoregon.com.