The Collaborative Model
In the collaborative model, each party retains his or her own collaborative lawyer and all 4 sign a Participation Agreement. The Participation Agreement sets out that the lawyers cannot go to court against the other side, ever. Instead, the legal issues between the parties are identified and resolved not through an application to a judge, or through a letter writing campaign between lawyers, or through phone calls, but only through a series of face to face 4-way meetings between the parties and their collaborative lawyers.
Child specialists join the team when a parenting plan needs to be sorted out.
Each collaborative lawyer is a certified civil mediator, but collaborative practice differs from mediation in that collaborative lawyers provide legal advice. The collaborative lawyers are actually working together to help the parties come up with creative solutions that meet each party’s needs, while providing independent legal advice to their own clients.