Collaborative Law

Many people are changing their view on how they want to handle legal disputes and they are seeking greater control over the process, the cost and the outcome. We make Collaborative Law available for them.

Collaborative practice allows the parties to maintain their personal power, create lasting agreements, maintain their privacy and save money.

Collaborative practice is a dispute resolution model where the parties contractually agree to resolve their dispute outside the courtroom setting with sound legal and professional advice to aid in their decision making. The agreements reached by the parties, with their counsel, are legally binding and can be memorialized in legal documents and filed with the court when necessary.

Collaborative practice encourages open communication and fact sharing so that the fairest, most practical, solutions can be found. Clients who handle their cases collaboratively save significant time and money by avoiding litigation costs such as hearings, court ordered discovery, depositions and trial. If experts are necessary, the parties jointly select them and share the cost. In addition, collaborative practice affords clients greater control and privacy. In a litigation case, the parties’ dispute is handled in a public forum where almost all documents are available for anyone to view as a matter of public record. More and more frequently those documents are becoming easily accessible over the internet to anyone. In collaborative practice only minimal information is filed with the court along with the parties’ ultimate resolution in the appropriate legal format. Collaborative Law is the most private and cost effective way to resolve many legal issues.

Collaborative Family Law

Collaborative Law allows people with a personal dispute such as a divorce, custody action, parentage action, probate disagreement, essentially any type of family law matter, to resolves the issues without excessive court intervention. A family law is the most emotionally painful type of legal dispute and often comes at a time when the parties can least afford the stress and expense of a court battle. Most family law matters require compromises. In a collaborative case the parties determine what those compromises will be. In a litigated case, the court decides those compromises usually leaving both parties disappointed in the outcome after having spent many thousands of dollars.

Family law courts today require detailed paperwork to bring an issue before the court in a temporary motion. The costs of creating, filing and serving the required documentation and attending the hearing to address even a single issue can cost the parties thousands of dollars. When a family law matter has to go all the way to trial, tens of thousands of dollars are spent just to present your side to the court.

Collaborative family law provides an alternative. The parties’ contractual agreement at the beginning of the case that they will not bring the dispute before the court is an agreement to sit-down in a mediation-type setting with counsel and fashion agreements that will work for all those involved. The parties are represented by counsel at all times so they benefit from sound legal advice as they fashion their agreements. In addition, expert advice is sought on financial issues and concerns regarding the best interests of any children involved. Coaches as are also utilized to assist the parties in dealing with their new roles in the changing relationship. The use and support of collateral professionals allows the parties to obtain the best advice and move forward in a healthy fashion with truly workable solutions. The parties can be certain at the end of their settlement agreement that they have obtained all the necessary information to create the best possible resolution for their family.

For more information about collaborative family law, see the links below or contact our office for additional information.

Books to Read

The Collaborative Way to Divorce : The Revolutionary Method that Results in Less Stress, Lower Costs, and Happier Kids–Without Going to Court by Ousky, Ron and Webb, Stuart, Hudson Street Press (2006)
Collaborative Divorce: The Revolutionary New Way to Restructure Your Family, Resolve Legal Issues, and Move On With Your Life by Tesler, Pauline and Thompson, Peggy, ReganBooks/Harper Collins, 2006.

Collaborative Civil Law

Collaborative Law is an effective and private way to resolve civil legal disputes. It is particularly useful in business disputes, real estate and land use disputes, contract disputes, employment law and health care disputes. Almost any type of civil legal matter can be resolved with the Collaborative Law model. In many legal disputes the parties will have continuing business or personal relationships that they want to preserves. Many business communities are small and no one wants their disagreement with a supplier or fellow business leader to become the “talk of the town”. If you disagreement is with a neighbor or nearby land-owner, the last thing you want is to create a long-term feud that impacts your personal peace and privacy for years to come.

By agreeing at the beginning of the dispute to work toward a negotiated agreement without court intervention, the parties are able to keep their legal dispute out of the public eye. The parties come out of the process with their privacy intact and a workable agreement that allows the parties to move forward without long term damage to their business or personal relationships. Agreed settlements create win/win outcomes.

In civil law matters the parties are also cognizant of cost. The court requirements for detailed documentation and busy court calendars have significantly increased the cost of litigating even a minor dispute. A civil legal matter often takes years to work its way through the court system. The expense of court ordered discovery such as written interrogatories, requests for production of documents and depositions are in the tens of thousands of dollars. A summary judgment motion alone can cost thousands. The Collaborative Law approach of agreed disclosure and mediation-style negotiations with legal counsel allows the parties to resolve their issue without these unnecessary costs. Collaborative Law clients find that they can fashion binding, workable agreements without the unnecessary protracted costs of years of traditional litigation.

For more information about Collaborative Civil Law, see the links below or contact our office for additional information.

Books to Read

Avoiding Litigation by Sherrie Abney (a sample chapter can be viewed at the Practice Tools Resource Library on the IACP website)

The New Lawyer by Julie MacFarland

Collaborative Law RESOURCES: – Sound Collaboration – Collaborative Professionals of Washington – International Assn of Collaborative Professionals – civil law information