What is collaborative law or collaborative practice?
Traditional litigation is often times emotionally challenging, expensive, time consuming, and can devastate families and children. In order to diminish the negative effects of traditional litigation, another model for practicing family law, called collaborative law or collaborative practice, was developed. Since its development approximately twenty one years ago, collaborative law has spread rapidly to most of the United States, and to Canada, Europe, and Australia. Collaborative law is frequently used in divorce cases but can be used as a process to resolve most family law disputes.
In a collaborative divorce, the parties and their attorneys begin the process by signing a written agreement not to go to court. Through a succession of carefully planned “four-way meetings” where both parties and their attorneys are present, each issue in the case is addressed. The collaborative process requires that if the settlement process breaks down and one or both parties want to go to court, both attorneys must withdraw and are not permitted to be the attorneys that represent the parties in court. This disqualification requirement is a crucial part of the process because it removes the underlying threat of litigation which in turn creates a safe environment for settlement negotiations and aligns both parties’ attorneys and each participant’s interest to the purpose of the process which is finding a resolution.
The Collaborative Team
Sometimes other professionals such as financial specialists, communication coaches, mediators, child specialists, and property appraisers, may be hired to participate in the process as part of the collaborative team if it is thought that their knowledge and expertise may aid the parties in reaching an agreement. Any outside professional brought in to participate in the collaborative process must agree to be neutral to both parties and to work together with the parties and their attorneys to gather all information relevant to their particular area of expertise.
The benefits of collaborative law
The collaborative process is designed to put the well-being of families and children first by encouraging cooperation between the parties, reducing hostility, and building a strong base for the parties to co-parent into the future. Mindy Reynolds role as a collaborative family law attorney is to improve the decision-making process for her clients by educating, informing, and counseling them to find resolutions without court intervention. The collaborative process encourages new, creative, and custom solutions fitted to individual litigants.
Collaborative law has a proven track record for success. However, collaborative law is not appropriate for every case. For instance, a collaborative divorce would not be appropriate in cases in which one or both of the spouses are seeking revenge against the other, are not receptive to advice, or are unwilling to try to understand another point of view. Also, a collaborative divorce is not appropriate in cases in which there is a history of domestic violence or emotional abuse or where one spouse has dominated or controlled the other spouse during the marriage.
A Collaborative Divorce is usually quicker, less expensive, and less painful, than a typical divorce, with approximately 95% of cases reaching settlement. By choosing this process instead of traditional litigation, you can preserve your privacy and your family’s dignity while you become empowered because you maintain control over the outcome of your case instead of putting it in the hands of the court. The collaborative divorce process will allow you to avoid the high emotional and financial costs of traditional litigation without giving up any of your rights.
Experienced family law attorney, Mindy Reynolds, is trained in collaborative law and is committed to the principle that negotiated settlements derived from the collaborative process save her clients money, preserve their long-term financial well-being, and reduce animosity between spouses resulting in the development of a more stable foundation for the future. Call the law office of Mindy Reynolds today to determine if a collaborative divorce is right for you.
Mindy Reynolds serves clients in Atchison, Coffey, Dickinson, Douglas, Geary, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Leavenworth, Miami, Osage, Pottawatomie, Riley, Saline, Shawnee, Wabaunsee, and Wyandotte Counties and throughout Kansas.