This process is truly a “team” effort in which the parties and professionals collaborate to create resolution in a family law matter. As with most alternative dispute resolution processes, this is a voluntary process that requires two willing parties to commit to a process until mutual resolution is reached.
Attorney Coristine is a certified Collaborative Lawyer and works with other professionals similarly trained. In order for a couple to engage this process, both must be represented by an attorney who has received training and certification in the field of Collaborative Law. Additionally, the parties work with a neutral “coach”, who is trained to help facilitate discussions between the parties and work toward resolution of issues. Other neutral professionals such as a collaborative lawyer may also become involved, such as a financial neutral, who assists in the financial decisions and a parenting specialist, who may be brought in the collaborative process to assist the parties with child-related concerns.
The key to the success of this voluntary process is the desire of the parties to work towards resolution and the removal of the threat of litigation. Both parties and their attorneys sign a Participation Agreement, in which all agree that they shall not resort to litigation if an impasse occurs. This pledge includes the agreement that neither attorney will represent their client in any litigation that may subsequently commence. Most Collaborative processes are successful because the parties do not want to resort to litigation and recognize that the progress made through collaborative efforts is not enforceable in any subsequent litigation. This process is particularly helpful for parties who are willing to be creative in structuring solutions so that the impact of divorce and separation have a minimal impact on families. It also provides a forum for parties to hone their post-separation communication skills with each other so that they are more effective parents to their children long after their divorce/paternity matter has been finalized.