Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Collaborative Practice - In the News

A December 19, 2007, Associated Press story entitled "Lawyers and Clients Collaborate on Kinder, Gentler Divorces" reminded me to discuss Collaborative Practice. See article at Also see the website of the International Academy of Collaborative Practice at I strongly believe that clients should make an informed choice of the divorce process that works best for them. It may adversary, mediation or collaboration. Collaborative Practice assists divorcing clients when adversary divorce or mediation is unsuitable to reach a negotiated settlement. Collaborative Practice uses cooperative rather than adversarial strategies. The guiding principle is the commitment to avoid court and the threat of litigation to reach settlement of their cases. A key factor that distinguishes Collaborative Practice from other ways of obtaining a divorce is that the parties and the attorneys agree that the attorneys will withdraw from the case if it becomes adversarial. I believe that as much effort should be exerted toward settlement as is traditionally spent in preparing and conducting a trial. The goal of Collaborative Practice is to minimize the negative economic, social, and emotional consequences of protracted litigation on the participants and their families. Client who use Collaborative Practice can rely on their attorneys and counselors for guidance, but they also rely on their own creativity and integrity to reach an agreement that will provide a strong foundation for the future well-being of their post-divorce family. Each party is represented by an independent attorney who together with the client works with the other spouse and his or her attorney in four-way conferences to achieve an equitable settlement. All professional advisors including accountants, therapists, appraisers, and financial planners, are hired jointly by the divorcing couple and provide expert advice to support the achievement of a fair settlement. While this approach cannot alter the underlying differences that have led the couple to consider divorce, an honest exchange of information and commitment to consider the needs and concerns of all parties involved in the divorce, including the children, leads most couples to a satisfying agreement without resorting to a courtroom battle. There are different approaches to Colaborative Practice. You should discuss with your Collaborative Practice professional the different options. As always, you can post a comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. WM 3/12/08

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