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Collaborative Family Law May Be Your Best Divorce Alternative

Posted by samanthas on March 8, 2012 in oakville ontario, Oakville Ontario Services with No Comments


Divorce is very stressful for a couple ending their marriage. When children are involved it can be even more psychologically damaging. An aggressive and long legal battle can emotionally scar all parties involved. There are alternatives to going to court that make the divorce process less damaging, and also tend to be less expensive and quicker.

Collaborative family law is a cooperative approach to divorce. This model uses a team approach to assist spouses in resolving issues arising upon separation. The collaborative “team” includes both spouses, a collaborative family lawyer, and any other professionals they feel are needed (e.g. financial experts, family specialists). Often, lawyers are not needed for all aspects of the negotiation. This approach is cost effective and efficient because the spouses have access to the right expertise at the right time and the process is more in their control than divorce court.

In collaborative family law, spouses control the process and work together. If both parties agree to the collaborative model, a Participation Agreement is signed by the spouses and all professionals involved. During a series of confidential meetings, a collaborative family lawyer supports the spouses in identifying issues, generating options and choosing solutions that meet the needs of both parties. A separation agreement is then drafted. Collaboration eases the emotional strains of a separation and protects the well being of the children. Through open communication, full disclosure and mutual respect, both parties address their concerns. This paves the way for smooth transitions and positive interactions in the future. People who reach agreements themselves tend to be more satisfied than those who have decisions imposed on them by a judge.

Collaborative family law is voluntary and both parties must cooperate in the settlement meetings. If either spouse decides to go to court, everyone on the team must withdraw from the process. This is an incentive for everyone involved to be committed to negotiating and coming to agreements. The collaborative family lawyer’s role is to provide legal advice, and coach the spouses in an organized framework to agree on the terms of a separation agreement.

Collaborative family law will not work for everyone, but it is a viable and preferred method for many families.

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