Collaborative Law is a new way for a divorcing couple to work as a team with trained professionals to resolve disputes respectfully, without going to court. Each client has the support, protection and guidance of his or her own lawyer. While Collaborative lawyers are always a part of Collaboration, most models provide child specialists, financial specialists and divorce coaches as part of the clients' divorce team. In these models the clients have the option of starting their divorce with the professional with whom they feel most comfortable. Then the clients choose the other professionals they need. Therefore, the clients benefit throughout collaboration from the assistance and support of all of their chosen professionals.
Although Collaborative Practice comes in several models, it is distinguished from traditional litigation by its inviolable core elements. These elements are set out in a contractual commitment among the clients and their chosen collaborative professionals to:
- negotiate a mutually acceptable settlement without using court to decide any issues for the clients
- withdrawal of the professionals if either client goes to court
- engage in open communication and information sharing, and
- create shared solutions that take into account the highest priorities of both clients.