Mediation takes place with an impartial third party, who helps you to come to a decision. You attend the sessions without your lawyer and obtain legal counsel and advice outside the sessions. In Collaborative Family Law, negotiation takes place in four-way meetings with lawyers and clients working as a team. You will also meet with your lawyer individually to receive counsel and legal advice.
The parties make the decisions on the final result.
The Collaborative process:
• Reduces negative impact on children
• Focuses on your interests
• Allows everyone to maintain their dignity
• Lessens hostility
• Sets the stage for getting on with your life
• May be quicker and therefore less expensive
Throughout Canada and the United States, the success rate of Collaborative Law is very high. However, if either party decides to discontinue the process, both lawyers must withdraw and have no further involvement. Both parties then start proceedings with new lawyers..
Since you control the process, the length of time required depends on the parties’ commitment to the process.
The parties and their lawyers are all present at the negotiating table. The lawyers, their clients’ legal advisors, facilitate the discussions and act as coaches to promote constructive communication. They keep parties focussed on the issues on the agenda and propose creative solutions. Nobody has a right of veto: all decisions rest with both parties. The lawyers give advice and generate options. They will help you to understand the other party’s proposals and to communicate your own needs.
A willingness to participate in open and honest dialogue, to make full financial disclosure (this is also required in litigation) and to treat your partner with respect.
Your lawyer will charge her/his regular fees. The cost may be less than litigation. The better you and your partner are able to collaborate, the less it will cost.