How to Get Started
If you think that the Collaborative Family Law Process may be right for you and your spouse, begin by taking these steps:
- Introduce the concept to your spouse and share the website address. Remember how the concept is presented (or who is doing the presenting) will greatly affect your spouse’s receptivity. You may have the open door to discuss it with your spouse or it may be perceived as manipulative and controlling, so it may be best to just email your spouse and give him/her the website in order to educate and come to a decision on his or her own.
- Choose a Collaborative Family lawyer that you would like to interview or hire.
- Each of you will meet with your attorney to gain a clearer understanding of your situation and if the collaborative law approach will be successful for your separation. Your lawyer can help you make an educated decision as to whether the process suits you and your family.
- Both you and your spouse as well as both lawyers will sign a Collaborative Family Law contract. In this contract all parties agree not to litigate the case although you may agree to use mediation or arbitration to help you get beyond any impasse.
- During the process the four of you will attend “4-way meetings” that allow the spouses to explore together issues, as they define them, in their own voice to reach a resolution.
While there are no two cases or two collaborative lawyers alike, the emphasis is on finding a way in which lawyers can work with spouses to reach agreements cooperatively and efficiently. The majority of work is conducted in four-way conferences where you and your spouse play the lead roles in reaching your agreement.
Finally there is an approach that allows the parties involved to have an active role in how “their” divorce is resolved – it is called Collaborative Law.