1. Decide if you should use collaborative family law

What is collaborative family law?
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1. Decide if you should use collaborative family law

There are many reasons why people choose collaborative practice. And there are also reasons why they don't. Think about these reasons and then decide if you want to try collaborative family law with your partner.

Reasons to use collaborative family law

Some of the reasons to use collaborative family law are:

  • It can be faster than going to court once you have agreed on all of the process details and signed a participation agreement.
  • It can be cheaper than going to court.
  • You get professional help to try and make an agreement.
  • You have a lot of control over the timing, process, and results. If you go to court or choose arbitration, a judge or arbitrator decides your issues.
  • You learn how to cooperate. This helps if you have children and you and your partner need to discuss things in the future like which school your children should go to.

Some people choose collaborative family law because they feel that they can negotiate better when they’ve agreed that they will try not to go to court.

Reasons not to use collaborative family law

Some of the reasons not to use collaborative family law are:

  • Although it can be faster than going to court once you have signed a participation agreement, you have to agree with your partner on all the details before you can do this.
  • Although it can be cheaper than going to court, it can be expensive as you have to hire your own lawyer. You may also hire other professionals, such as a financial planner.
  • It isn't suitable when you have an emergency and need a court order quickly. For example, if there is a risk that your partner is going to leave the country with your children.
  • If you feel that you won't be able to negotiate fairly or safely with your partner even with specially trained lawyers involved. For example, if there is a history of partner abuse or if you know your partner will hide financial information.

When collaborative family law fails

Most of the time, partners who want to make the process work are able to reach an agreement.

But, if you can't agree on all your issues and need a decision, you can try mediation-arbitration, arbitration, or going to court. Then an arbitrator or a judge decides your issues.

You cannot use your collaborative family law lawyer to go to court. You have to find a different lawyer.

You May Also Need

Ontario Collaborative Law Federation
Reviewed: July 31, 2017

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