What is Collaborative Law

Author: M. Samples

Collaborative law is an out of court process option. It is a bit like mediation, but with the added benefit of each party having a collaborative attorney to represent them. It is most commonly used in divorce cases but can be adapted for use in other family law cases as well. People tend to like this process because there is a greater emphasis on working together toward a common goal, and less of a focus on winning and losing. This helps to preserve relationships.

What does the actual process look like? 

At the beginning of the case, both parties retain a collaborative attorney and make an agreement to stay out of court. Most commonly, this takes the form of signing a Participation Agreement (drafted by one of the attorneys). Parties may also bring on other professionals to help with the divorce process. You may have a financial specialist, a child specialist, counselors and/or divorce coaches, etc. Each party, their attorneys, and any of the professionals that you decide would be helpful work together to achieve a good outcome for both parties. This group of professionals is referred to as your team. It is common in collaborative cases to have many joint meetings with everyone involved. These meetings help each party communicate their goals and keep the case moving in an efficient and effective manner.

Is this a good option for you?

Like mediation, collaborative law is often a good option for couples that have maintained some lines of communication. Both parties understand that it will be a difficult process but are willing to do what it takes to make the transition as healthy as possible for their family. Collaborative divorce may not be the best option in cases with domestic violence, or in situations where the parties feel they cannot be in the same room together. If you are interested in this process option, please contact our office! We are happy to discuss collaborative law with you and help you determine whether this option may work for you and your family.

Below is a link to the Oregon Association of Collaborative Professionals website. This is a great resource to learn more about collaborative law and get connected with collaborative professionals in the area.