What is Collaborative Family Law?

Collaborative Family Law is a process that enables parties involved in a dissolution of their marriage and other family law matters to resolve their differences in a non-adversarial setting. Each party has their own lawyer who is trained in Collaborative Family Law. The process is based upon good faith, full disclosure, co-operation, integrity, honesty and ethical professional standards. The process enables the parties to avoid the increased hostility often caused and encouraged by going to Court. The Collaborative Family Law process is frequently successful because the parties and their lawyers are committed to the process and incorporate reasonableness into achieving a workable and fair settlement. Separation and divorce is a problem with a solution, not a war to be fought.

How does it work?

The lawyers and clients sign a participation Agreement which is a binding contract committing them to work together honestly, openly and in good faith to reach a resolution. All members of the team endeavour to reach a comprehensive agreement to resolve all issues.

Clients and their lawyers get together in settlement meetings. The lawyers provide legal advice to their own clients and assist in the process to help the parties negotiate in a respectful and dignified manner to reach the best possible solution.

The parties co-operate fully in obtaining and sharing all financial and other important information and if experts are needed to assist with financial or child issues, the costs of such experts can be shared by the parties.

The parties agree that they will not go to Court. If the process breaks down and the parties go to Court, both lawyers must withdraw and neither the lawyers nor any member of their respective firms, may represent the clients in subsequent litigation.

Benefits of the Collaborative Approach

  • You control the process and the outcome, not the lawyers or the Courts
  • You avoid lengthy and devastating Court battles
  • You may save significant time and money
  • The parties involved achieve a fair result that addresses their needs and concerns

For more information on Collaborative Family Law, please see:
Collaborative Law Association of Waterloo Region
Ontario Collaborative Law Federation
International Academy of Collaborative Professionals