SEPARATIONS CAN BE BASED ON MUTUAL RESPECT, HONESTY, INTEGRITY AND COOPERATION. WE ARE EXPERIENCED KITCHENER FAMILY LAW LAWYERS WITH EXPERTISE AND CERTIFICATION IN COLLABORATIVE FAMILY LAW.
We are part of the comprehensive law movement that seeks to focus on the human well-being of our clients as part of our contribution to the law as a healing profession. Our team of highly skilled Kitchener family law lawyers has the specialized and certified training to assist couples who are seeking to resolve all of the issues arising from a separation in a wholistic process and a non-adversarial environment. The process of collaborative family law is an interest-based approach to conflict resolution based on principles of good faith, honesty, respect, integrity, cooperation, and full disclosure. The emotional, financial, and legal elements are all equally important in collaborative family law. A collaborative family law approach allows for separating 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.
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 they are are also experienced mediators. These skills are especially important if you and your spouse reach impasse, where conflict causes the discussions to break down. Our lawyers have the hands-on and practical experience to get you past the conflict and to keep the discussion going to reach settlement through wholistic legal practise that focuses on the needs of the whole person in resolving disputes.
Couples entering into this method of dispute resolution mutually agree by way of an agreement not to enter into litigation proceedings. By taking this approach to conflict resolution, you and your spouse become engaged and active participants in the process. You are encouraged to select a neutral financial professional who will perform the valuations on behalf of you and your spouse in an unbiased manner, saving you the stress and cost of multiple valuations. You are also encouraged to select a neutral family professional to assist you to create a parenting plan for your children. We can help you to select the professionals that are right for your family!
You will work together with a team of two collaboratively trained lawyers 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, with the goal of entering into a full and final comprehensive separation agreement and/or parenting plan. Four-way meetings and negotiations take place with a set agenda and the progress of your case is recorded in 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. 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.
The collaborative family law process was designed by Stuart Webb, an American family law lawyer, in 1990 who recognized that the traditional adversarial manner of resolving divorces in court simply was not working. Collaborative law uses Harvard University’s “interest-based negotiations” as opposed to other processes that use positional bargaining. Stuart explained that in the mid-1970s, when Stuart's own marriage reached a crossroads, he personally experienced the power of discussion. "I represented myself and my my wife had a lawyer that I respected", Stuart explains, "and we got it worked out". He credits the power of the tools that make up what we now know as collaborative law with creating an atmosphere that ultimately helped them strengthen and return to their marriage. Stuart notes that "in litigation, clients usually want to get mean lawyers who hate the other parties. And that's the opposite of what we do in collaboration".
If a couple is unable to reach an agreement, they agree to retain new legal counsel moving forward. Not reaching an agreement is very unlikely when a couple is both committed to achieving the results that they seek. We are also trained mediators and negotiators which gives you an advantage when discussions often break down during an impasse because we have the advanced training to keep the discussion going and to continue to move you and your spouse forward towards resolving your conflict. The discussions and the negotiations during the collaborative sessions remain strictly confidential and cannot be used in subsequent court or arbitration proceedings.
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.
We are a members of Best4All: Collaborative Practice of Waterloo Region, the Ontario Association of Collaborative Professionals, and the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. We are also members of the Ontario Association of Family Mediation.
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!
For over 40 years, clients have trusted in our ability to explain their rights and obligations in a separation or a divorce. We are confident that you will appreciate our professional and personalized service. We invite you to browse our website and read the positive things others have to say about us. To benefit from our knowledge and experience with respect to the collaborative 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 and surrounding areas.
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