The collaborative process is a relatively new method of dispute resolution in family law. The centerpiece of collaborative law is the signing by two spouses and their lawyers of what's referred to as a collaborative-law participation agreement. In it, the parties agree to negotiate with each other in good faith and respectfully, children's rights are promoted, and the parties agree not to go to court.
This process involves meetings between the lawyers and their parties, and they're referred to as four-way meetings. Those meetings are privileged, confidential meetings. In 34 years of practicing family law and other areas of litigation, this has been (and is) for me the most satisfying legal process to which I have been a part, and the feedback that I'm receiving from numerous clients over the past five years since I started this method of dispute resolution has been very satisfying -- I would say far more satisfying than I ever heard from litigation clients.
Danny Zack is a partner who practices family law and collaborative law with Kahn Zack Ehrlich Lithwick in Richmond, BC. He has represented the Ministry of Children and Family Development (and its predecessors) in doing child-protection work since 1975. He can be reached at (604) 270-9571. View his firm's Divorce Magazine profile.