The International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP) defines collaborative law practice as “…a voluntary dispute resolution process in which parties settle without resort to litigation.” The collaborative approach is used in family law to help people reduce the negative impacts of divorce on themselves and their families, especially children. Another benefit is saving money. Although the process does require both parties to retain attorneys trained in collaborative law, it is far less expensive than traditional litigation.
Jones Family Law Group, LLC has two attorneys trained in the collaborative law process. Here’s what collaborative law seeks to accomplish, how it works, and why it might be right for you.
What is the goal?
- The goal of collaborative law is to reach fair and lasting agreements in a cooperative, respectful manner.
- The process empowers parties to reduce conflicts and resolve legal disputes in a positive, safe environment.
- It does not rely on a judge or other authority to make decisions.
- In addition to collaborative law attorneys, trained mental health professionals and financial experts may provide education, support and guidance.
Does it work?
According to the IACP, approximately 80% of couples who entered into a collaborative participation agreement were able to resolve their issues. A 2010 IACP Client experience survey showed that 75% of collaborative law clients were “extremely or somewhat satisfied” with the process.
How does it work?
To begin, both parties sign a collaborative participation agreement. This agreement defines the scope of the issues.
- By signing, both agree not to go to court with the matter, and to instead commit to making a good faith effort to resolve the disputes.
- In order to be successful, transparency is required, including the voluntary disclosure of any and all relevant information, such as finances.
- Once an agreement is reached and finalized, it is filed with the family court. A judge must sign off in order to make it legally binding.
- If the parties cannot agree, either may opt to end the collaborative process and choose litigation instead.
Although the benefits of a collaborative legal approach are many, it will not work for everyone. Collaboration requires a high degree of trust, communication, cooperation and a mutual desire to reach an agreement that is beneficial to all. Check out the IACP’s FAQs for more information.
Do you have questions about collaborative law, litigated divorce, mediated settlements, custody or other legal issues? With a combined 30 years in family law, the attorneys at Jones Family Law Group, LLC, will provide the legal guidance you need. For questions, or to schedule a confidential consultation, call 314-449-8830.