What Makes Collaborative Law Different?

In a traditional divorce or separation, couples must resolve issues such as child custody, child support, spousal support and the division of shared property and debt by agreement. If the couple cannot agree, the Court will make decisions for the family, and will issue a binding divorce decree or court order that imposes those decisions on the family.

In a collaborative divorce, however, you and your spouse agree to participate in your own negotiated settlement process, assisted by collaborative law lawyers who are specifically trained and experienced in helping you reach an agreement. If you cannot reach a settlement with your lawyers, you both must find new lawyers to take your case to Court.

Collaborative law is based on cooperation and respect. It's designed to reach a negotiated settlement outside the Courts in a safe and private setting.

Solving Your Family's Issues In A Safe And Respectful Way

Our firm has embraced the collaborative process as a legitimate avenue for solving family problems in a safe, open and respectful environment. We can help you determine what the advantages and disadvantages of the collaborative process might be given your family's needs.

How The Collaborative Law Process Works

First of all, both spouses must sign a Collaborative Participation Agreement at the outset. This agreement says you commit to negotiating a resolution and prevents either party from litigating against the other while negotiations are ongoing. You may also include provisions specific to your needs or goals, such as:

  • Agreeing to resolve your differences in a non-adversarial way
  • Maintaining constructive communication throughout
  • Using your lawyer to assist you in reaching a settlement
  • Using neutral experts such as financial advisers, children's specialists or divorce coaches to facilitate the process

You will then engage in four-way sessions with your spouse and your respective collaborative lawyers to explore the issues, create solutions through problem-solving and hopefully reach a settlement. It's important to note that your lawyers will not negotiate for you; they will work with you to keep the process constructive, on-task and moving towards a resolution. This means that the discussions and decisions ultimately remain in your control.

Is A Collaborative Approach Right For You?

Collaborative family law does not work for everyone. It requires that you remain committed to working together with your spouse. However, in a collaborative process, trained professionals will be there to assist you with the legal and emotional issues that always accompany a marriage dissolution.

Our lawyers are highly skilled at helping families find not just a resolution, but the right resolution for their family's needs. To get started, we invite you to call our office in Vancouver at 604-800-8853 and schedule an appointment with one of our trained collaborative lawyers. You may also send us an email with your inquiry and we'll respond promptly.