John Schuman, a family lawyer in Toronto, answers:
Collaborative practice is an alternative for resolving issues arising from a marriage breakdown. The clients, lawyers, and sometimes other professionals (such as child experts or financial advisors) work as a team in a fair and respectful process. An essential part of collaborative negotiations is that the parties agree, in writing, that they will not go to court. If one party decides to take the dispute to court, both parties have to start over from Square One with new lawyers and other professionals.
In Collaborative practice, each party focuses on what he or she really wants rather than focusing on legal positions like they would in court. It is often possible for both sides to get what they really want. Collaborative practice process does not work where both parties will not work together, are abusive, or are hiding information. Collaborative practice process is often better for the children because the parties commit to work together, rather than fighting. They come to an agreement that is tailored for the kids.