For people who are divorcing or dealing with other family law problems this is an alternative type of resolution process. The ones in these cases work to reach a solution together along with a family attorney. In some cases, they also have the help of financial advisors and mental health counselors. When collaborative family law is chosen the solutions to the family law matters is done without going to court. It is a process that is meant to be less adversarial than dispute-resolution processes in other types of family law. The ultimate goal is to come in an agreement that is in the best interest for all parties involved, which can include children.
Collaborative family law was originally developed to be used in the divorce process. To use this process, both parties need to agree to participate in this out-of-court process. It will not be effective if either party does not respect each other, are already adversarial, or cannot comply with the dispute resolution terms. Both parties will sign an agreement that they agree to these terms. If there are children involved one important aspect of the collaborative family law contract is that they will leave the children out of the dispute along with maintaining a stable safe home environment during the process of dispute resolution.
The purpose of a family attorney in this process is not to litigate or defend their clients against the other parties. Their role is to assist with creating agreements, offer legal advice, and advocate for their client. Each party will usually have their own lawyer. Their lawyers can also assist their clients with figuring out visitation and child custody, alimony, splitting of marital assets, and child support. To finalize the outcome of the dispute the family attorney will file the documents in court.
In collaborative law processes, a professional mental health counselor may be consulted. When the parties are trying to create a realistic solution to emotionally charged disputes these counselors can be helpful. When these situations arise, they can help both parties deal with a range of emotions they are experiencing in constructive and healthy ways. The mental health counselor may also help each party develop coping skills, how to effectively communicate with each other, and be able to realistically view the situation. This is helpful if both parties want to remain friends later, especially if they have children.
Financial advisors may also be involved in these cases. They can help a couple decide how to split their marital assets. They can also help each one enjoy the most benefit out of the assets they have kept. The financial advisor may also offer advice on how each party member can handle the assets they received to provide them the maximum financial benefit for their future.