The Collaborative Process is one of several options to resolve disagreements in family law matters. It is an out-of-court settlement process in which both parties are represented by collaboratively trained attorneys and the parties and attorneys sign a Participation Agreement, committing to reach a resolution outside of contested litigation.

The Participation Agreement details the parties’ obligations to be transparent and forthcoming, as well as the steps of the Collaborative Process. The Participation Agreement often requires the attorneys to stop their representation and end the Collaborative Process if either or both parties do not act in good faith or either party files litigation.

The Collaborative Process generally involves a series of 4-way settlement meetings, at which parties focus on goals and concerns, brainstorm and evaluate potential solutions, and work toward mutually beneficial settlement terms. To the extent that experts are needed to help with valuation of certain assets, input about the children’s preferences, evaluating cashflow, or for support in discussing difficult subjects, experts are consulted and brought into the Collaborative Process as needed.

The ultimate goal of the Collaborative Process is to reach and sign an enduring, mutually beneficial settlement agreement so the parties can divorce on an uncontested basis.

Patrick W. Dragga and Lindsay Parvis are collaboratively trained attorneys.