My Husband Says We Will Share a Lawyer. Is That How Collaborative Law works?

Collaborative law differs from other means of getting a divorce in that you and your spouse each hire a specially trained collaborative lawyer. You do not, however, share a lawyer at any time during the process.

By Nigel Macleod
April 24, 2013

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No. In collaborative law, each client has their own specially trained and dedicated lawyer. As with mediation, collaborative law may operate to reduce the parties' expenses as compared with the significantly costly course of family litigation in the courts. The promise of collaborative practice is that both spouses and their lawyers dedicate their best efforts at organizing a full and fair settlement out of court. In my view, potential savings occur because of the focused use of interest-based negotiation as opposed to positional bargaining. Collaborative clients come to understand their interests, needs, specific concerns, and positive plans going forward. They are willing to listen to their spouse's perspective in a professionally secure and safe discussion through problem-solving and crafting a joint strategic plan.

As well, our collaborative community promotes the vital interests of the children in the divorce and separation experience. Unfortunately the human cost and trauma for children in separation is well known, particularly in the concept of the bitter court case. The human-relation experts agree that it is conflict -- not family restructuring per se that puts children at risk. My mediation and collaborative clients are determined to safeguard their children from the significant early point of process choice to alternative family dispute resolution. They are focused on savings but expand their leadership and vision to saving their children's future.

Collaborative law supports efficiency and effectiveness in the respectful resolution of family issues. That's the basis of the families' savings and may explain how the collaborative approach has proven to be invaluable to so many divorcing people.

Nigel Macleod practises family law, mediation, and Collaborative Divorce in Ottawa.

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April 24, 2013
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