When a couple decides to separate or divorce, they must find a way to resolve their differences on all relevant issues. Collaborative Family Law is a process in which participants to a family law matter agree at the outset to work, along with counsel, to resolve family disputes without resort to litigation. Parties hire collaborative attorneys and contract with them to resolve family issues without formal discovery or resort to litigation. See list of Collaborative lawyers at the Collaborative Law Institute of Missouri.
Collaborative law empowers spouses to dissolve their marriage with dignity. Consider Collaborative law if you and your spouse:
Each party hires a specially trained collaborative attorney, and other collaborative professionals as needed, and all work together in a cooperative, non-adversarial process with one goal: to achieve a mutually acceptable agreement.
You and the other party and your respective attorneys promise in writing to voluntarily disclose all financial and other relevant information, to proceed respectfully and in good faith as you negotiate toward a settlement. All of you also promise to refrain from
the threat or use of litigation.
A key component of a successful collaborative process is the four-way meeting. It's a structured setting in which both parties and their attorneys communicate and negotiate directly with one another.
The four-way meeting - and the whole collaborative process - is a team approach to resolving family law disputes. If and when you need additional collaborative professionals, such as mental health or financial specialists, you bring them into the process.
Because everyone involved is committed to voluntarily disclosing necessary information, formal discovery tools, such as depositions, written interrogatories, or subpoenas, are unnecessary. And there is no place for argumentative, accusatory, or threatening letters
When a settlement is reached, attorneys file the appropriate paperwork required by the court.
The concept of Collaborative Law was created in 1991 by Stuart Webb, a Minnesota attorney. Stuart Webb observed the court system's failure to serve the needs of the parties and their children in dissolutions and family disputes. He believed a better way was for the parties and the lawyers to work together to resolve the financial and custody issues of a divorce rather than engage in a court battle to defeat each other.