As a collaborative family law practitioner, I am often asked by clients why a collaborative separation and divorce is the best choice for them in contrast to the traditional adversarial approach to litigation and court proceedings that often results in higher costs and increased conflict.
There are many reasons in support of Collaborative Family Law, but I present my top 10 reasons:
Maintain control: You and your spouse are the decision-makers in the process, not the family law lawyers and the court.
- Less cost: A collaborative Separation Agreement is often much less costly than going to court to resolve your dispute.
- Best interests of the children: The best interests of the children always come first in decision-making and decisions affecting the children require mutual agreement, which does not always occur in the court process.
- Less stress: Negotiating in a supportive and caring environment is good for everyone involved, whereas the court process can often be highly adversarial and emotionally draining leaving the participants feeling empty and unsatisfied.
- Professional Team: In collaborative family law, professional help is available to handle all of your legal, financial, and emotional issues by specially trained collaborative family professionals, including lawyers, financial professionals, divorce coaches, and mental health practitioners who work as a team by focusing on helping you to find solutions that are best for your family.
- There are no "losers": The use of interest-based negotiation that focuses on underlying interests, values, and goals encourages the development of win-win solutions, creative problem-solving, and settlements that meet the needs of the entire family.
- No secrets: A key strength of the collaborative process is full financial disclosure that allows both spouses to reach a settlement that each believes is fair and right for their family.
- Long-term success: The collaborative process allows for the ability to achieve a lasting agreement including a parenting plan that does not leave long-term emotional scars or destroy the respect and dignity of the spouses and parents.
- Privacy & Confidentiality: Obtaining a separation and divorce through the collaborative process means that all of your personal information will remain private and confidential. In litigation, your personal information becomes a public record for anyone to read.
- Maintain your dignity: Working through issues in a supportive team environment allows you to focus on the goals of the sessions in a reasonable and civil manner. The stress, anxiety, and conflict that often occurs in the traditional adversarial court process is reduced. And when there is conflict, the family professionals and mental health practitioners are available to help you resolve the conflict in a healthy and productive manner.
If you believe that you could benefit from assistance in Collaborative Family Law, we invite you to contact an experienced lawyer at our firm for more information about how we may be of assistance.
Aubrey Sherman is the managing partner at Sherman Law LLP in Kitchener, Ontario. His practice focuses on family law, estate planning, and estate administration. The team at Sherman Law LLP in Waterloo Region has over 40 years of experience providing clients with creative and innovative solutions. If you wish to discuss your family law or estate planning matter in further detail, please contact our office to arrange for a consultation. We can be reached by phone at 519-884-0034 or by email.