Collaborative Practice is the process of solving disputes – such as separation of partners, or business disputes – outside of courts. Instead of treating disputes as conflicts with winners and losers, collaborative practice enables both parties to work together, with their lawyers, to achieve the best outcome for them both.
Collaborative Practice involves a different procedure to solving issues through the courts system. At the outset, all parties sign a Participation Agreement, wherein everyone agrees to behave in a respectful manner to each other and provide the relevant information needed to create a fair agreement at the end. You and your lawyers will communicate with each other in face-to-face meetings, telephone conferences, and written correspondence. There will be four way-meetings in which everyone can share their views, concerns and important information in order to reach an agreement. Once an agreement is made, it can be made into a legal order by a judge.
There are many benefits to engaging in Collaborative Practice, rather than resorting to courts or mediation. The process of Collaborative Practice ensures that all parties have the support they need. In addition to lawyers, other professionals may be engaged to look after the needs of both parties and ensure the best possible outcome for all involved. These may include child consultants, accountants, psychologists, or coaches.
Collaborative Practice can be a particularly attractive option when children are present in the case. The needs of children are given careful consideration, and additional professionals may be brought into proceedings to ensure they are looked after properly. Additionally, by avoiding court procedures, it makes it possible to preserve working relationships between both partners. This is especially important if ongoing cooperation will be necessary while looking after children. It also minimises the emotional distress children would face during litigation and ongoing conflict between their parents.
By treating everyone involved with respect, Collaborative Practice enables participants to solve disputes in a way that preserves their dignity and avoids the stress of litigation.