How does the collaborative process work?
First you will each meet with your own lawyer and discussed the various options and processes that are available to resolve your family law issues. Hopefully you have chosen a qualified collaborative lawyer and you are told about the availability of the collaborative process. You have then decided that the collaborative process sounds right for you. So what happens next.
You will both meet individually with your separate lawyers to be informed about the process, about the collaborative meetings and what to expect during those “four way meetings”. You will then prepare to attend the first four way meeting after your lawyer has prepared and informed you.
Usually both the collaborative lawyers will meet in person or by phone to plan the meeting.
The first four way meeting: At the first four way meeting the lawyers will make sure that you both understand that you are making a commitment to working out an agreement without going to court and you will all four sign an agreement to this effect.
You and your partner will be invited to share your own objectives in choosing this process and you will all plan the agenda for the next meeting. This will depend on your own individual circumstances but might typically include a discussion about how the children are responding to the separation or perhaps if there are any urgent financial issues to be discussed and resolved.
If time permits you may also go on to discuss how financial information will be shared and agree on who will bring what financial information to the next meeting. Sometimes it might be necessary for your accountant or financial adviser to attend personally or by telephone. The process allows a very quick exchange of information, more effeciently than lawyers sending each other correspondence based solely upon their own client’s instructions. All information is shared within the four way meetings.
What is the time frame for completing the collaborative process? Since there is no real time table you can take your time and consider options and possible outcomes. Of course you will want to complete the process as quickly as possible but it is entirely a matter for the parties how many meetings are involved. It may depend upon the complexities of your particular circumstances.
One of the benefits of the collaborative process is that it’s not driven by a timetable imposed by the court. So to a large extent the process can be built around your family’s individual timetable and priorities, as these meetings follow agendas set by you and your partner. Our experience is that anywhere from three to five meetings is the norm.
The Collaborative process and mediation can be explained during an information session when the mediator can explain the available dispute resolution methods. Enquire now about making an appointment to attend an information session.
Read more about this respectful way to separate at the links below. Watch the video from the UK to the right and there is also a video available on the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals you can watch it on this link