Once the parties and their attorneys enter into an agreement to proceed collaboratively, the parties then find a time to meet and discuss their expectations and objectives. These four-way conferences enable the parties to openly negotiate their interests and work together to craft an individualized settlement agreement.
Since parties can tailor their settlement to their individual circumstances, they are more likely to be successful in the long run. In fact, the majority of cases that start off in collaboration are resolved through the collaborative process. The few unsuccessful cases typically occur when the parties reach an impasse and cannot resolve one or more issues without court intervention. At that point, the parties can simply submit a notice of termination of the collaborative process. The collaborative lawyers withdraw from the case and the parties are free to retain new counsel to pursue their matter in court.
Founding partner of McGaughey & Spirito in Redondo Beach, California, Joe Spirito has been practicing family law since 1982 and is currently serving as secretary of the Los Angeles County Bar’s Family Law Section.