Sherman Law LLP




Family Law

Collaborative Family Law

Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative Divorce Mediation


Your separation and divorce can be negotiated or mediated without having to go to court. Work together with your spouse, with the support of a team of family and financial professionals. Families all over the world are discovering that collaborative family law is the better way to separate.

  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. 


With over 40 years of experience in resolving disputes concerning separations and divorce, the dedicated and responsive team at Sherman Law LLP understands how harmful court proceedings can be to a family and the importance of finding a way to have discussions and resolve disputes without causing hurt to the people involved.


Our team of highly skilled collaborative family law lawyers and accredited family mediators have specialized and advanced training, including from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals

Our lawyer-mediators are certified in online dispute resolution (ODR) and will help you to achieve a favourable and fair settlement in-person or virtually without having to go to court.  


You will work with a team of legal, family, and financial professionals to talk, listen, and resolve your family law conflict and dispute by focusing on what is best for your family.


Collaborative divorce and family law practice and negotiations often include:


  • Interest-based discussions based on principled negotiation
  • Insightful discussions focused on relationship building and enhancing family communication
  • Integrative legal practise focused on identifying values and seeking values-based solutions
  • Emotional Intelligence in situations of conflict and decision-making
  • Exercises focused on making decisions in alignment with core values and principles
  • Plain language and visual aids that provide a framework for authentic communication, connection, clarity, and relationship design
  • Preparation of Separation Agreements and Parenting Plans
  • The Conscious Contracts® process that bring relationships to the heart of agreements through creating sustainable, relational, and values-based agreements





Dispute resolution that is purposeful and family-focused.


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 needs of the whole of a person 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 divorce process because they are certified collaborative legal professionals and accredited family mediators through the Ontario Association for Family Mediation. These advanced conflict management skills are especially important if you and your spouse reach impasse, where conflict may cause the negotiation discussions to break down.

  • We have hands-on and practical experience to get you past the conflict and to keep the conversations going to reach settlement through wholistic and integrative legal practise that focuses on the needs of the entire 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.




A customized process that works best for your family.


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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


Option #1: Counsel-facilitated Collaborative Negotiation


Creating 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.


The goal will be to work together to reach agreement on the terms for 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, including:


  • 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 financial 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.

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.


The collaborative process focuses on supporting you and your family to reach an agreement to successfully move forward in two new households. 


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.

Our lawyers and professionals have advanced training to keep discussions going and to continue to move you and your spouse forward towards resolving your conflict and dispute. 


Discussions remain private and confidential.


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.


Option #2: Collaborative Divorce Mediation


Collaborative Divorce Mediation with a 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.



Our lawyers and mediators are certified collaborative professionals.


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











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




Are you ready to get started with Collaborative Divorce?


 If you would like to discuss collaborative divorce as part of your separation, please contact 519-884-0034 or send us an email. For over 40 years, clients have trusted in our ability to focus on facilitated and principled negotiation and collaboration to resolve disputes. 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, Stratford, Hamilton, London and surrounding areas.



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

Aubrey J.  Sherman

  Aubrey J.  Sherman