Collaborative Law is different from a traditional court battle. Litigation, by its very nature, is adversarial and combative. Litigation results in the parties and their attorneys focusing on attacking one another and wearing each other down. The resulting aftershocks of litigation are often negative and far-reaching, particularly when children are involved.
Collaborative Law, on the other hand, emphasizes the parties working together with collaborative law professionals to create a mutually advantageous solution. It places the decision-making power with the parties (who have a clear understanding of their specific issues) instead of the courts and a judge (who make decisions with a minimal understanding about the parties and their desires regarding children and other important issues).
Collaborative law allows the parties to work together to come up with custom solutions for their specific issues. Specifically, the collaborative law approach seeks to achieve a fair settlement for the parties and minimize damage to the financial estate and the relational estate.
Collaborative Law was born as a response to the concerns of family law attorneys, faith-based leaders, financial and healthcare professionals, and social workers, who witness the results of divorce and custody legal battles in their respective professions. Collaborative Law has been used with frequency over the past decade in California and Minnesota and is quickly becoming a popular alternative to litigation in Texas, Ohio, Georgia, Florida, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New Mexico, Oregon, and Massachusetts. Texas is the first state to codify standard provisions for Collaborative Law in family law matters. Collaborative Law attorneys strive for settlement from the beginning of a case without the need to litigate. They employ strategies for handling divorce and custody disputes in a civilized and congenial manner while abstaining from manipulation and posturing. The focus in Collaborative Law is for the parties to work together to achieve an amicable solution that addresses the needs of the parents and the children. To accomplish this, parties and their attorneys make a commitment to deal with one another with courtesy and with trust to identify, explore, and resolve all relevant issues. The result is a process that has quickly become successful in achieving consistent levels of high satisfaction who for parties who choose Collaborative Law as an alternative to a traditional court battle.