Sherman Law LLP

 

 

 

Family Law

Collaborative Divorce & Family Law

Collaborative Divorce Mediation

 

YOUR SEPARATION & DIVORCE CAN BE NEGOTIATED OR MEDIATED WITHOUT

HAVING TO GO TO COURT BASED ON

MUTUAL RESPECT, HONESTY, INTEGRITY

AND COOPERATION. COLLABORATIVE FAMILY LAW IS A BETTER WAY TO SEPARATE & DIVORCE. 

  Illustration of talk, listen, resolve

 

A collaborative divorce and family law approach allows for families in transition, including separating and divorcing spouses or common law partners, to avoid the hostility and expense that are often the result of litigating matters through the court by focusing on working together to achieve a favourable and fair settlement without having to go to court. You will meet with a team of legal, family, and financial professionals to talk, listen, and resolve your family law conflict and dispute focusing on what is best for your family. 

 

Our team of highly skilled family law lawyers and lawyer-mediators have specialized and certified advanced training, including from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. We assist couples who are seeking to resolve all of the issues arising from their separation in a wholistic process and a non-adversarial environment. Our approach is to first get to know our clients and then to facilitate conversations that will provide them with useful information and solutions that fit their specific needs. We work with our clients towards sustainable collaboration instead of aggressive and self-serving positioning.

 

A dispute resolution process that works best for your family.

 

Collaborative family law is an interest-based and insight approach to conflict and dispute resolution based on principles of good faith, honesty, respect, integrity, cooperation, and full disclosure. The process allows couples to openly discuss their concerns and resolve disputes through interest-based conversations in a manner that is rare in litigation by reviewing the whole of a person, the whole of a dispute, and the needs of the family with focus on the present and moving forward. The emotional, financial, and legal elements are all equally important in collaborative family law. We focus on the relationships that matter most to you, including your children.

 

The specially trained family lawyers at Sherman Law LLP are duly qualified to assist you in a collaborative process because they are not only certified collaborative legal professionals, but some are also experienced mediators through the Ontario Association of Family Mediation. These skills are especially important if you and your spouse reach impasse, where conflict causes the discussions to break down. We have the hands-on and practical experience to get you past the conflict and to keep the conversations going to reach settlement through wholistic legal practise that focuses on the needs of the whole person and their family in resolving conflict and disputes. Couples entering into this out-of-court process mutually agree by way of an agreement not to enter into litigation proceedings. By taking this approach to conflict and dispute resolution, you and your spouse become engaged and active participants in an out-of-court separation and divorce process that is best for your family.

 

Getting started with the collaborative process.

 

We start the process by meeting with you individually to get to know you and learning what is important to you and your family. The lawyers then meet together to discuss how to move forward with the conversations based on the goals of each spouse. A series of four-way meetings, conversations, and negotiations take place where you work to create shared goals, to build a set agenda, and work together to decide the terms for a fair agreement. The progress of your case is recorded in confidential progress notes. Often, these progress notes contain next steps or "homework" that the couple must complete before the next meeting. Sometimes, the family professionals and financial professionals also attend at the meetings. We design a process that works best for your family. The cost of collaborative family law is often less than half of what it would cost to resolve a dispute through the court process.

 

Create your team.

 

You will work together with a collaboratively trained lawyer representing each spouse and the collaborative team of financial and family professionals to achieve resolution of your dispute that best represent your wishes and beliefs, and the best interests of your children. Frequently, couples also work with divorce coaches and child specialists. Alternatively, you can also work with one neutral lawyer-mediator and a family professional who will work collaboratively with you without the need to retain two lawyers for each spouse. The goal will be to work together to reach agreement on the terms of a full and final comprehensive separation agreement and/or parenting plan.

 

We will help you to select a team of professionals that are right for your family. 

 

  • Legal Professionals are highly skilled and experienced collaboratively trained lawyers, including one for you and one for your spouse that focus on sustainable collaboration instead of aggressive and adversarial litigation.

  • Financial Professionals can perform the valuations on behalf of you and your spouse in an unbiased manner, saving you the stress and cost of multiple valuations. Financial Professionals can also assist with budgeting, corporate reorganization of joint business ventures, and financial management. Frequently, financial professionals can be an accountant, certified financial planner, certified divorce financial analyst, and a certified money coach. Financial professionals assist you and your spouse to understand the financial circumstances in a separation and divorce and often to preserve wealth for the best possible financial future. 

 

  • Family and Mental Health Professionals are often social workers, therapists, psychologists, and counsellors who can assist you to create a parenting plan for your children and to deal with family conflict.

  • Divorce Coaches are licensed mental health professionals who have been trained in the collaborative process and in mediation, in additional to their training in mental health. The coaches have specialized skills in communication, conflict resolution, and emotion regulation. They work with clients individually, as well as in four-way meetings with the other coach and the couple. The coach assists the couple to reach goals and focus on finding solutions that are specifically designed for the collaborative divorce process. Typically, the coach works on issues of communication, emotions, and with parenting plans.

  • Child Specialists are licensed mental health professionals who have been trained both in the collaborative process, mediation, and in working with children and families. The child specialist focuses on the child and their concerns throughout the collaborative divorce process. The role of the child specialist is to give voice to a child or children, and to bring their concerns to the rest of the team. The child specialist advocates for the child while acting as a consultant for the parents and the other professionals. Typically, the child specialist assists in the development of the parenting plan to ensure that the concerns of the children are addressed.

  • Collaborative Divorce Mediation - Neutral Collaborative Lawyer-Mediator offers a fresh and innovative approach to divorce that is healthy, family-centered, and affordable. Collaborative mediation offers a sensible alternative to the adversarial, two-lawyer divorce system for separating couples who wish to make their own decisions and stay in control of their family's future. In this model, one neutral lawyer-mediator and a family professional work collaboratively with the couple to get them over legal, financial, and emotional hurdles to reach mutually acceptable agreements. This process offers the best of collaborative divorce and mediation by combining the most successful strategies of collaborative divorce with the cost-effectiveness of mediation with outstanding success. We are proud to be the first IACP trained collaborative law firm in Waterloo Region to offer collaborative mediation as part of our commitment to provide innovative legal options.

 

The financial, family, lawyer-mediator, and mental health professionals each remain neutral. This neutrality means that they help you and your family to resolve your problems without taking sides and remain impartial to the decision-making process.

 

Working together to reach an agreement.

 

When you and your spouse are satisfied with the terms of agreement, your lawyers will help you to draft a separation agreement and/or parenting plan.  Often, the agreement will allow for future review and possible changes. Some families decide to work with the family professional to update parenting arrangements as their children grow or to get help with parenting challenges. The collaborative process focuses on supporting you and your family to move forward in two new households. 

 

We are also trained mediators and negotiators, which gives you an advantage when discussions can break down during negotiations. Our lawyers and professionals have the advanced training to keep the discussion going and to continue to move you and your spouse forward towards resolving your conflict and dispute.

 

A confidential settlement process where discussions remain private.

 

The discussions and the negotiations during the collaborative sessions remain strictly confidential and cannot be used in any subsequent court or arbitration proceedings. This is different from litigation and court proceedings where discussions and documents become a public record.

 

The collaborative process is not just for divorce.

 

Collaborative family law is gaining in popularity to such an extent that the Canadian federal government has included amendments to the Divorce Act that include an obligation on the part of family law lawyers to advise their clients of the possible use of collaborative negotiations. Collaborative family law can also be used to negotiate marriage contracts and cohabitation agreements because it focuses on the interests and goals of the couple that results in effective problem-solving.

 

We are a members of Collaborative Divorce Waterloo Region (Best4All), Collaborative Practice Hamilton Halton (CPHH), Collaborative Family Law London & Middlesex, the Ontario Association of Collaborative Professionals (OACP), Collaborative Professionals of Canada (CPC), and the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP).

 

To learn more about our unique and innovative approach to family law and the variety of areas that we can assist you and your family, please click on the Our Approach menu option.

 

 

 

 

 

When you are ready to move forward with a customized, respectful alternative to traditional adversarial separation and divorce, please contact our firm for more information. We will help you to create a customized solution that considers the priorities of both spouses, and without ever having to go to court. Best of all, your information will be kept strictly confidential and private in a manner that court proceedings cannot achieve. We are ready to help - give us a call!

 

 

 

Do you want to learn more about Collaborative Divorce and Family Law?

 

For over 40 years, clients have trusted in our ability to explain more than simply their legal rights and obligations in a separation or a divorce. We focus on sustainable collaboration that leads to creative solutions and enduring dispute resolution. There are few family law problems that we have not previously assisted clients in resolving. We are confident that you will appreciate our professionalism and personalized service. To benefit from our knowledge and experience with respect to collaborative divorce and family law as part of your separation or divorce, please contact 519-884-0034 or send us an email.

Many of our clients are referred to us by former and current clients, as well as by lawyers, accountants, and financial advisors.

We serve clients in Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph, Hamilton, Halton, London, Middlesex, and surrounding areas.

 


 

Connect with a lawyer in our firm with expertise in this area

Aubrey J.  Sherman

  Aubrey J.  Sherman