Collaborative Practice aims to resolve family disputes respectfully and cooperatively without going to court. This client-centered process is focused on keeping your children’s best interests at heart and helping all parties move on with their lives. By treating the separation process as a negotiation rather than a battle, you minimize the pain and stress that can come with getting divorced.
The Collaborative Process begins with the signing of an agreement confirming each party’s commitment not to go to court. Negotiations are held during meetings with you and your spouse, so the discussions are transparent, rather than controlled by counsel. Often a neutral family professional and a neutral financial professional are involved. They provide insight and expertise and enable you and your spouse to benefit from working through some of the parenting, communication, and financial issues you might be having. Meetings with these professionals frequently don’t include the lawyers.
During Collaborative meetings, issues are examined from a number of perspectives to ensure that the best possible solution is found. The wellbeing of your “family” is put first and constructive communication is established so that future issues can be resolved civilly and effectively.
The process is geared to minimize conflict and provide you and your spouse with the professional help needed to move forward constructively with your separation. It also provides a model for working through future issues. This is especially important for couples with children, since you will need to address issues that arise for many years to come. If both you and your spouse are motivated and ready to move forward, Collaborative divorce tends to take less time and cost less money than litigation or more traditional negotiations.
“Collaborative Family Law” was developed in 1990 when a Minnesota lawyer sought to create a new, less combative method for divorce. This method focused its attention on reducing the amount of stress and disruption placed on the family during the process. The Collaborative approach is now practiced throughout Canada and the U.S. and has recently spread to Europe and Australia.
All of our family lawyers are members of Collaborative Practice Toronto and The International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. We have all completed advanced training and continue to attend ongoing Collaborative professional development sessions. Nicola Savin, one of our partners, is a board member and Co-Chair of Collaborative Practice Toronto and is on the board of the Ontario Collaborative Law Federation. Our lawyers are trained to guide you, assist you with the technical aspects of your divorce, and keep things productive and focused.
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