Avoid Court: Collaborative Law participants do not go to court. In fact, the participants sign an agreement committing to resolve the case entirely outside of court.
Legal Advice: One of the key features of Collaborative Law is the presence of attorneys who can provide legal advice to their clients during face-to-face negotiations (called “4-way” meetings). In divorce mediation participants typically will not get legal advice unless they hire a consulting attorney.
Negotiating Partner: The collaborative attorney acts as a negotiating partner with his or her Collaborative Law client. This is different from divorce mediation where attorneys often do not participate directly in the mediation and it is up to the client to negotiate for him or herself.
Client Control: Collaborative Law allows participants to retain control over their own agreement rather than leaving it up to a judge who is not familiar with their family. Further, Collaborative Law allows people to make highly specialized agreements that work best for their family which otherwise could not be ordered by a court due to a court’s limited authority.
Client Satisfaction: Collaborative Law participants report high degrees of satisfaction with the process as well as the outcome compared to litigation clients. Even if litigants are satisfied with the outcome of a case, they are often dissatisfied with the cost, stress, uncertainty and acrimony associated with litigation.
Maintain Your Privacy: Collaborative Law is a private process whereas litigation often plays out in a public courtroom. Further, litigation often generates many public documents that include allegations and other “dirty laundry.”
Your Own Timeline: Collaborative Law participants create their own timeline. The case can move at the pace that best suits their family. Litigation clients are subject to the timeline and appearance requirements of the court system.
Preservation of Relationships: The preservation of relationships is often important to clients, especially when kids are involved. One of the reasons Collaborative Law works so well is because it assists the parties in communicating with each other. Participants often report they have not communicated so well in years!
Next: Read about the role of the Collaborative Attorney.