Collaborative Law is a structured process that provides an alternative to court. During the collaborative process, the parties can discuss all issues openly and honestly.
This varies greatly from the traditional litigation model, wherein the Court will hear only one or two issues at a time, and the parties are limited in what they can say.
The collaborative process begins when the lawyers and clients sign a Participation Agreement which provides that if the parties are unable to reach a settlement, the lawyers will withdraw from the case and assist the clients in transitioning the case to trial attorneys.
By establishing an open, cooperative environment, parties and their counsel can work toward a settlement that benefits everyone.
Collaborative law differs from mediation in several significant ways. In mediation, there is one "neutral" party who helps the disputing parties try to settle their case. The mediator cannot give legal advice, and cannot assist either side in advocating its position.
The parties may or may not have counsel to assist them in reaching a settlement. If one party is unreasonable, emotionally imbalanced, or is otherwise impeding the mediation process, the mediator must try to work with that individual to further the process.
As a result, the other party may feel that the mediator is biased or “catering” to the other party’s behavior. Collaborative law is meant to avoid these issues. Because both parties will have Memphis counsel representing their respective interests at all meetings, the process is more focused and positive, while maintaining settlement as the focus of the process.
The benefits of Collaborative Divorce include:
- The parties are in control of the process
- mutual respect
- recognition of the interests and concerns of all
- emphasis on the needs of children
- open communication
- emphasis on problem solving
- preservation of dignity of the parties
- avoids litigating in court