Collaborative Family Law
Collaborative family law is a specialized approach to divorce and separation whereby you and your spouse or partner create an affordable agreement with the support of registered collaborative family lawyers. Registered collaborative financial and psychological specialists may also be engaged, depending on your circumstances.
The process is non-adversarial. It is, as a result, typically less expensive and takes less time than going to court. It puts the needs of children first, and may preserve parenting relationships despite difficulties in your relationship with each other. With the help of your collaborative family lawyers, you create financial plans and a separation agreement that cover each of your concerns.
The collaborative family law approach provides a solid foundation for each of you to leave your relationship with your dignity intact and to embrace a more hopeful future.
Common Questions Regarding Collaborative Family Law In Alberta
Collaborative separation and divorce is a respectful process for resolving conflict with the help of specially trained lawyers and other professionals, without going to court. At the outset, the participants sign a collaborative participation agreement that outlines responsibilities and expectations for the process. Participants in the collaborative process agree to
Voluntarily disclose all information that is relevant to the issues being discussed
Engage with good faith efforts to reach a mutually agreeable resolution
Agree to be represented by a registered collaborative family lawyer
Agree that if they cannot settle their differences, their relationship with their collaborative lawyer ends and they may find a different lawyer to proceed to court
Engage financial, mental health and/or parenting specialists if the need arises
The collaborative process is regulated internationally by the International Association of Collaborative Professionals and locally by the Association of Collaborative Family Professionals. In order to become registered collaborative professionals, members of these associations must go through intensive training in dispute resolution, mediation and negotiation.
A collaborative family lawyer:
-Has specific training to help you resolve a broad range of family issues.
-Facilitates settlement meetings and negotiations.
-Strives to reach agreements that best meet the specific needs of clients and their children without the underlying threat of litigation and the uncertain outcome of court.
-Provides advice and guidance throughout the collaborative process.
-Works with you on the legal aspects of your separation and/or divorce.
-Partners with other members of the collaborative team (financial professionals, divorce coaches, child specialists, parenting coaches) to find solutions that take into account all of your needs.
Yes, collaborative separation and divorce is often cheaper than going to court and pursuing a trial. It is also often faster, less depressing, and less distressing. Under-resourced court systems are backed up, and getting a trial date can often take one to two years. Shorter hearings, such as special chambers or judicial dispute resolution hearings, can take 6-12 months.
The collaborative process operates at a pace that works for you. If you need it done quickly, your lawyers will try to make this happen. If you need more time to understand what is happening to you or to speak with a financial or psychological specialist, you can have it. The key is that the process respects your concerns and needs while you work through your issues with your former partner or spouse. It is tailored to you in a way that courts cannot duplicate, and you also retain more control over the process than you do in a traditional litigation proceeding.
Mediation is also often much less expensive and much faster than litigation. It can also be less expensive than collaborative separation and divorce. The difference is that your lawyer is not typically in the room with you when you negotiate a resolution to your problems. In mediation, you both retain a mutually acceptable mediator, who takes you through the dispute resolution process. At the end of the process, the mediator drafts a Memorandum of Agreement that you then take to your lawyers for advice, drafting and execution.
For more information see https://insightlaw.ca/practice-areas/mediation-edmonton/ and https://insightlaw.ca/practice-areas/collaborative-law-edmonton/.
Yes, both lawyers must be Registered Collaborative Family Lawyers in order for you to engage in the collaborative separation and divorce process.
Yes. You can stop the litigation process and begin a collaborative family law process at anytime.
Yes. Common law couples can use the collaborative process to work out how they will separate. The process remains the same. The outcome is typically a separation agreement that outlines how each will deal with issues of parenting, support, property, and other issues unique to you.