How Does The Process Work
In collaborative cases, each partner meets with their respective collaboratively-trained lawyer to discuss the collaborative process and identify the issues that are important to them.
If both partners agree to use the collaborative process, both partners as well as the collaborative lawyers sign a participation agreement or collaborative contract, which requires the parties to:
- Behave in a respectful manner towards each other
- Exchange complete financial information
- Maintain absolute confidentiality throughout the process enabling one another to express frankly their needs and concerns
- Reach written agreement without the threat of court proceedings
To reach agreement, the partners and their lawyers all come together in face-to-face meetings. In these meetings, the partners put their “cards on the table” and all issues are discussed in an open, non-confrontational manner.
The lawyers support the negotiations by providing the partners with not only legal advice. Other professionals such as accountants, financial advisers, mediators, psychologists and counsellors are brought in when necessary to provide advice to assist with any financial, emotional, or other issues which may arise in the process. The lawyers facilitate discussions to reach agreement with the benefit of other professionals’ skills and advice.
If the partners cannot reach agreement and court is the only alternative, both partners’ lawyers must withdraw from the case.