Frequently Asked Questions...

Can all lawyers practice collaborative law?
Every lawyer can, but not all lawyers are ready to change from the traditional adversarial mode to collaboration. Those who can embrace a new way of thinking can probably shift from conflict to  collaboration, to their benefit as well as to their clients.

Is it safe to put the fate of a divorce in the hands of a judge?
It's what we've been doing for centuries. The problem is that judges are people, too; they have their own biases. They also have a limited knowledge of each case. Many are overworked. And the fact is that a surprising number make their decisions in a way that deliberately ignores or is simply ignorant of the actual law. While you might be lucky and find a compassionate, intelligent, and just person sitting on the bench, you never know what kind of heart beats under the black robe.

Can both husband and wife use the same attorney in the Collaborative Law process?
No. Each party hires their own collaborative attorney.

Isn't it more expensive when two lawyers are involved in an out of court settlement?
No. It is less expensive because both parties and both lawyers work as a team which is more efficient than an out of court settlement where both sides are bargaining against each other.

If a settlement is reached, what difference does it make whether it is collaborative or an ordinary settlement agreement with lawyers involved?
The difference is that a collaborative agreement has been reached by considering the interests of both parties and the family, where a traditional adversarial agreement is just a "left over" agreement reached by each side taking a position - giving up their position in bits and pieces until the agreement reached is nothing more than what is left over.

I've heard about mediation, how is collaborative law different?
Mediation uses one neutral professional who cannot give legal advice. There is always a power imbalance in divorcing couples. The mediator cannot take sides with the less powerful party because of the neutrality requirement. In Collaborative Law, with legal representation for each party, the power imbalance is neutralized and all four can then work as a team to reach agreement.
 


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