Today, there is a growing effort to promote and encourage "Collaborative Law," or Collaborative Divorce, one of the latest
buzzwords frequently used in the family law community for divorce and child custody disputes,
as the new litigation alternative approach to resolve disputes in the family court system.
Collaborative Law can be a useful Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
process that can reduce your attorney fees, legal costs, and reduce animosity between
the parties. However, Collaborative Law may not be the best choice for resolving your
particular dispute(s). Before agreeing to participate in Collaborative Law or Collaborative Divorce, you may want to
learn more about Collaborative Law and research and explore all options available to you.
How did Collaborative Law come about?
What is Collaborative Law?
What are some of the factors that contribute to the high success rate and
effectiveness of Collaborative Law?
When does Collaborative Law work, and when does it not?
How did Collaborative Law come About?
Collaborative Law was coined and developed in the early 1990's, by Stuart G. Webb, an
Attorney and Family Law Practitioner in Minneapolis, Minnesota, who wanted to
come up with a different way to structure the family law practice, which would focus entirely on
"collaboration" between divorcing parties in order to eliminate the frustration,
distress, and cost that would occur in litigation.
What is Collaborative Law?
Collaborative Law is a dispute resolution model that is premised on
all participants agreeing to work together respectfully, honestly,
and in good faith to try to find "win-win" solutions in regards to the
needs of both parties.
Both parties to the dispute retain separate, specially-trained lawyers
whose primary task is to help the two parties settle the dispute.
If the lawyers do not succeed in helping the clients resolve the problem,
the lawyers will withdraw and can never under in any circumstance
represent either client against the other if matters end up in court.
What are some Factors that make Collaborative Law a Success?
The Statistics state that more than 90% of all divorce cases are resolved without a trial.
However, what this statistic does not state is that many of these settlements are reached
at the doorsteps of the courthouse under conditions of considerable tension and anxiety
after much money has been spent, and a great deal of emotional damage has already taken place.
Collaborative Law was designed where an absolute commitment to settlement is the sole agenda
and such that the distress and heartache that goes along with pre trial discovery methods and
courtroom trials can be avoided.
Each side has quality legal advice from their lawyers and advocacy built in at all times
during the process. The Collaborative Law process is different than that of the mediation
process where a "neutral" third party attempts to monitor the dispute and is often
trapped in a situation that makes them appear as though they are siding with one
party over the other if one becomes unreasonable.
What separates Collaborative Law from every other dispute resolution process is
Collaborative Law puts two lawyers in the same room pulling in the same direction
to solve the same list of problems. As Collaborative Lawyer Pauline H. Tesler put it,
"I cannot succeed as a Collaborative Lawyer unless I also can find solutions to the
other party's problems that my client finds satisfactory."
Will Collaborative Law work for me?
Certainly, Collaborative Law will not work in every case. After all, it takes two
to tango and it takes two willing participants to effectively use the Collaborative Law process. However, in the cases where Collaborative Law has been used, even if reluctantly, there have been more rapid settlements at a fraction of the normal cost associated with divorce.
The following added resources are provided as recommended readings, which complement
many of the questions addressed above in regards to Collaborative Law.
I chose to list below the resources that I found to be the most informative and educational in
nature that I feel will benefit others in understanding the "Collaborative Law" model and process.
FIRST, in SECTION 1, a very well written article
that describes in detail the history and development of the Collaborative Law.
SECOND, in SECTION 2, are added resources
that I believe will help in further understanding What Collaborative Law is, How it works, and
Why it is so effective.
THIRD, in SECTION 3, are additional resources
to help generally understand when Collaborative Law is effective, and when it is not.
Collaborative Law is based on the premise that the two parents will
volunteer and are willing to divulge and disclose information, negotiate, and
communicate in "good faith" for the better interest of their child. If one parent
does not volunteer or is not willing to communicate in "good faith" then the
Collaborative Law process breaks down and will NOT work.
NOTE: I would like to bring to your attention, that in my research, I found
very little information from parents who have participated in the Collaborative Law or Collaborative Divorce
process. Therefore, to get a better understanding of the effectiveness of Collaborative Law
from a parents prespective, if you or someone you know has participated in Collaborative Law,
we would like to encourage you to email us and tell us your story.
To contact us and send us an email with your Collaborative Law
story click here.
The Evolution of Collaborative Law
The following article listed below is an excellent writing on the History and Development of
Attorney Nora Kalb Bushfield (Atlanta, Georgia)
( .html )
History and Development of Collaborative Law.
From the Perspective of a Sole Practitioner Specializing in Family Law and Collaborative Law Advocate.
To Learn More about Attorney Nora Kalb Bushfield click here.
Collaborative Law Today
The following articles listed below provide further information on What Collaborative Law is, How
Collaborative Law works, and When and Why Collaborative Law is effective.
Los Angeles Collaborative Family Law Association (Los Angeles, CA),
( .html )
What is Collaborative Family Law?.
A powerful and effective way for people who are divorcing to reach fair solutions and resolve differences..
Attorney Stuart G. Webb (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
( .html )
Minnesota Collaborative Family Law FAQ's.
13 Frequently Asked Questions Answered by the Originator of Collaborative Law.
To Learn More about Attorney Stuart G. Webb click here.
Attorney Pauline H. Tesler (Mill Valley, California ),
( .html )
Collaborative Law FAQ's.
12 Frequently Asked Questions Answered by the Founding co-Editor, The Collaborative Review..
To Learn More about Lawyer Pauline H. Tesler click here.
( .html )
What is Collaborative Law?.
An Overview of the Collaborative Law process.
When does Collaborative Law Work and When does it Not?
Collaborative Law is NOT a one-size-fits-all solution for dispute resolutions and
admittedly will ONLY work and be effective in cases that meet the premise upon which it was
developed. Therefore, the pros and cons of Collaborative Law should be thoroughly examined and
implored. Collaborative Law is a voluntary service, as is Mediation, therefore, you must decide
if Collaborative Law is best for you.
( .html )
Is Collaborative Law a Good Choice for Me?.
A Profile of those who should Consider the Collaborative Law Approach.
Information on Collaborative Law California and Collaborative Divorce California.
Our goal is to keep you informed on the movement towards Collaborative Law and on the latest