What is Collaborative Practice?

Collaborative Practice is a customized process to help separating couples
divide their assets, restructure their family, and plan for their future.

Highlights of Collaborative Practice

  • Parties settle the matters out of court
  • Address emotional, financial and legal issues
  • Voluntary Process
  • Parties still exchange all disclosure
  • Negotiations are constructive, not destructive like the court process
  • Parties utilize a neutral parenting professional to resolve issues relating to children and other family members
  • Parties utilize a neutral financial professional to resolve the financial issues which helps to reduce costs
  • Lawyers provide legal advice throughout to help the parties make informed decisions
  • A Separation Agreement is entered into at the end of the process which is a binding contract between the parties and is enforceable by the courts
  • The team approach helps parties focus on their goals and concerns to achieve the best possible outcome for the clients and their children.

Did you know?

The collaborative process can be used to negotiate the details of a marriage contract and cohabitation agreement. This is a great opportunity to focus on you and your spouse’s respective interests and goals in order to come to mutually agreeable terms and avoid financial and property issues before they arise.

How to decide if a Collaborative Process is for you?

  1. Do you want to have respectful communication both during the negotiations and ongoing?
  2. Do you want to ensure that each party has all the information they need to make an informed choice?
  3. Do you want to keep your costs down?
  4. Do you want to keep the details of your separation confidential?

If you said yes to any or all of the above, the Collaborative Process may be a good fit for you and your family.

Steps to a Collaborative Process


Find your Collaborative Professional

The first step is to look at your local listings to find collaborative professionals in your region. In your first meeting you will discuss the collaborative process and how it can work for you.


Sign a Participation Agreement

In all collaborative cases, you and your spouse must sign a participation agreement. During this part of the process, you both agree not to initiate a court application and pledge to communicate respectfully and openly about all financial information.


Identify Issues

In this step, you and your spouse will determine your goals and identify any issues that need to be resolved and what information needs to be gathered. Once all of the information for each issue has been provided, you will then be able to explore solutions for settlement of the matter.


Exchange full and fair financial disclosure

Parties will meet with their financial professional, both independently and sometimes together, to provide their full and fair financial disclosure. The Financial Professional will then put together a statement for the lawyers to review. The parties will use this statement to determine the next steps.


Negotiate a Parenting Plan

To discuss child-related issues and negotiate a parenting plan, parents can meet with a Family Professional independent of regularly scheduled collaborative meetings. The parenting plan that is created in these meetings will be a part of the final agreement.

Negotiation and Settlement

Priorities for each spouse are discussed and examined in order to generate resolutions to any pending issues. Once an agreement has been reached, the lawyers will prepare a separation agreement indicating all the matters agreed to in your settlement negotiations.

What if a settlement cannot be reached?

If a settlement cannot be reached, your lawyers may recommend using a mediator, arbitration or going to court; however, you and your spouse can enter a Partial Separation Agreement based on the issues you can resolve. If the collaborative process is unsuccessful, your collaborative lawyer cannot represent you in a court proceeding, but can carry on advising you in a mediation or other alternative dispute resolution process.

For more information or if you’d like to engage a collaborative professional, please contact one of our members.