LESLEY MATTHEWSON, PROF. CORP.
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Hamilton Collaborative Family Lawyer Promoting Cooperative Divorce

For a Peaceful Divorce, Consider Choosing  Collaborative Family Law

Collaborative family law is a private, respectful, solution-oriented approach to separation and divorce. It allows separating couples to create their own settlement agreements working with their individual, specially trained family lawyers, but in a team negotiation process according to a Participation Agreement that defines the rules of conduct. Everyone commits to not going to court or even threatening to go to court. The process is honest and open. Negotiations are conducted in four-way team meetings, in a ’round-table’ format, and in an atmosphere of cooperation and good faith. Communication is respectful and constructive. Important information is shared voluntarily. Nothing is done in secret. The goal is a unique settlement that reflects the couple’s interests based on their own standards of what’s reasonable and acceptable. For couples with children, the focus is on restructuring the family, bearing in mind that relationships are changing, but not ending. Joint decisions are formalized in a binding Separation Agreement.

The collaborative family law concept is expanding to “collaborative practice”, an interdisciplinary approach involving legal, family, and financial professionals for fuller consideration of options to reduce the long-term emotional and financial costs of separation and divorce.

Governing Principles of Collaborative Family Law

The collaborative family law process promotes constructive dialogue between separating or divorcing couples to solve the problems in the best way for their family.  Both participants have the benefit of the guidance and support of their specially trained collaborative family law lawyers. Together, the participants and their lawyers design a process, set an agenda, and work equally toward the best possible outcome. The participants are not limited to the outcomes that might otherwise be imposed by a family court.  In fact, court is not an option during the collaborative family law process.  Instead, everyone’s energy and efforts are focused on settlement.

The Collaborative Family Law Process Is Governed by These Principles:

  • The clients, along with their collaborative lawyers, sign a Participation Agreement to confirm their commitment to working within the framework, principles, and spirit of collaborative family law.
  • This commitment means that the clients and their collaborative lawyers will work together to reach the best possible, mutually acceptable resolution.
  • The collaborative lawyers encourage their clients to talk openly and honestly, to listen to each other’s perspective of what is important and of concern, and to identify their goals and objectives for the process.
  • Clients are guided by their collaborative lawyers through their settlement discussions to help them share information and generate and evaluate options in the context of their family’s circumstances.
  • According to the Participation Agreement, clients cooperate by sharing openly and fully all financial and other information important to the decisions they will make.
  • Throughout the collaborative family law process, clients are empowered and at all times maintain control of decision-making.
  • The process promotes mutual cooperation, good faith, and respect between the separating spouses to minimize conflict that leads to stress and turmoil.
  • The atmosphere of cooperation lends itself to constructive discussions, creativity, and resolution. When a couple has children, this approach helps parents focus on their children’s best interests, including the children’s relationship with each parent and the parents’ continuing relationship with each other as cooperative co-parents.
  • Overall, the collaborative family law process avoids the need to file court papers, hold costly court hearings, and relinquish important family decisions to someone else. Generally, the process is more efficient and cost-effective than litigation and spares families the emotional, and often financial, exhaustion caused by going to court.

For more information about the collaborative divorce process, contact our Hamilton Collaborative Family Lawyer at 905-648-3616. Family Law Solutions offers free consultations at no obligation to you. Contact us today.

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