Collaborative law allows for a common sense approach to resolving issues that arise upon separation and divorce. Issues are resolved away from the court system in an open, respectful and dignified manner between the parties with the assistance of their respective legal counsels. Parties in collaborative law agree to negotiate in good faith and to engage in the exchange of private and confidential information on a without prejudice basis. The parties and their respective lawyers work as a team in this process to reach a fair and a comprehensive settlement of their issues. In a court there can be only one winner, however, in collaborative law both parties can win by jointly developing a settlement, which meets with their interests.
Although the decisions in this process are made by the parties, legal advice is integral to the process. The collaborative lawyers, who are trained in mediation, use cooperative strategies to assist the parties and use “four way” settlement conferences to work towards a settlement. If it is necessary to obtain advice from other professionals like accountants, child psychologists, mental health professionals etc., parties can agree to hire such experts jointly reducing overall costs. After a resolution is reached, the lawyers prepare the final agreement reached between the parties and submit the joint divorce judgment application to the court to conclude the process.