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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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 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.
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