If communication of the parties has broken down, or the parties are not able to come to agreement on core issues, but they want to avoid litigation and maintain positive relationships then collaborative law may be the answer. Collaborative Practice is a voluntary dispute resolution process in which parties settle without resort to litigation.
In Collaborative Practice:
1. The parties sign a collaborative participation agreement describing
the nature and scope of the matter;
2. The parties voluntarily disclose all information which is relevant and
material to the matter that must be decided;
3. The parties agree to use good faith efforts in their negotiations to reach
a mutually acceptable settlement;
4. Each party must be represented by a lawyer whose representation
terminates upon the undertaking of any contested court proceeding;
5. The parties may engage mental health and financial professionals
whose engagement terminates upon the undertaking of any contested
court proceeding; and
6. The parties may jointly engage other experts as needed.
For divorce cases with children, for instance, this is an excellent way to ensure that the parents take positive steps toward co-parenting while ensuring the ability to afford two households. This approach can also be used in other areas of law that involve disputes in ongoing relationships, such as business. Michael Fryar is a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and the Connecticut Council for Non-adversarial Divorce. He has received specific training in the collaborative approach to dispute resolution.