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What is collaborative family law?

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What is collaborative family law?
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What is collaborative family law?
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Reviewed: 
March 1, 2021
Answer

Collaborative family law is an alternative dispute resolution process (ADR), also called family dispute resolution process, where you and your partner work together to resolve your legal issues out of court with the help of your own collaborative family lawyers. It is sometimes called collaborative practice.

You may also need to work with other collaborative professionals, such as a financial specialist or social worker.

Your collaborative professionals work together with you and your partner to help you agree on your issues. They offer a safe space to help you reduce conflict. Usually, you have several meetings with your collaborative professionals before you agree on your issues.

In family law, you must think about trying ADR to resolve your issues out of court if it's suitable for you. ADR might not be right for you if:

  • one person is afraid of another person because there is a history of family violence
  • there are serious mental health or drug abuse issues

Collaborative family law is voluntary. This means that you and your partner have to agree to the process. You cannot be forced to use it, or forced to agree on your issues.

Collaborative family lawyers have special training in:

  • using a cooperative way to get partners to agree
  • focusing on solutions that consider both partners' interests and needs, while taking into account legal rights
  • supporting partners to speak openly and honestly with each other
  • making sure that partners have all the financial documents and information they need to make informed decisions

Collaborative family lawyers also agree in writing not to go to court. As a result, they are committed to helping you reach a settlement.

If you and your partner agree on how to resolve your issues, your collaborative lawyers draft a separation agreement.

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