What is Collaborative Law?
Collaborative law refers to a new method of resolving disputes in a respectful and private manner and without litigation. Instead of resolving matters in a traditional court setting, this method involves an agreement between both sides to a series of negotiations between the parties, their attorneys, and any number of neutral experts trained in the disputed subject matter. These negotiations allow for an open exchange of information between the parties with the understanding that none of the information communicated will be used against them if the matter goes to court. If settlement fails and court intervention is needed, then the attorneys must withdraw.
What are the benefits of a Collaborative Divorce?
• The parties are in direct control of how the case proceedings unfold, and they do not have to accommodate themselves to the court’s schedule. If one party or both parties feels an issue is not being addressed properly, they can choose to invest more time into creating solutions for the matter or choose to retain more experts. If the parties wish to expedite the case, they can choose to compromise on issues and shorten the amount of time required to close the case.
• With collaborative law, there is also the benefit of confidentiality. Participants are not under the obligation of putting their allegations into written court motions that are available to the general public.
What is a neutral expert?
A “neutral expert” is a professional who is jointly retained by both sides to provide impartial information, opinions, or suggestions in relation to specific issues that need resolution. These experts can provide an honest and fair opinion regarding all relevant information in order to assist in creating options and solutions for settlement.
What is a neutral Mental Health Professional? What is their role in Collaborative Law?
A neutral Mental Health Professional (MHP) is someone who has been trained to screen, evaluate, and counsel. Furthermore, MHPs are trained in crisis intervention and case management. These skills allow MHPs to be neutral coaches in the Collaborative Law process. The role of the neutral MHP with training in collaborative law is to facilitate communication among all participants, manage the emotional content of such, contribute in the development of a parenting plan, and teach/model healthy co-parenting and communication skills. Neutral MHPs do not perform therapy for either the client or the couple.