Collaborative family law is quickly gaining momentum and popularity in the context of family law as an alternative dispute resolution process. In cases where a couple is going through an unfortunate separation, there are many avenues available to them to resolve the outstanding issues from their marriage. Many of these cases can be simple, with minimal time required to negotiate and agree on the settlement terms. For example, when there is a short marriage, no children and minimal assets to divide, the parties involved may find it easier to agree upon how they will separate.

In other more complicated cases, it can get very difficult and complicated for the separating couple to come with a resolution. This is especially important in situations that involve high emotions or hostility. Collaborative family law is not useful in every situation and in a number of cases, the parties to a family law case require the court to intervene and assist with the separation terms. However, if both parties are ready and willing to negotiate an out of court settlement, collaborative law gives them the ability to potentially reach a fair settlement while each party is represented by an experienced family lawyer in order to finalize a separation agreement.

In a collaborative family law setting, each party is represented by a lawyer with the goal to reach a settlement on outstanding issues such as custody and access for children, child support arrangements and parenting plans, spousal support entitlement and quantums, financial and property division, financial disclosure, valuing a business and anything else that requires a settlement. Each of the parties involved can remain confident in knowing that they are being represented by a lawyer and while negotiating, there is no possibility or threat of “going to court.” However, if negotiations in the family law case is are not fruitful, each party must retain a new family lawyer if they are resorting to litigating the issues in Family Court.