Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative Divorce thumb

Divorce as usual isn’t the only choice any longer

Divorce does not have to escalate conflict between two people. Collaborative Divorce is a solution-oriented process to settle your divorce without going to court.

The heart of Collaborative Divorce (also called “collaborative practice” “collaborative law” “no-court divorce,” “divorce with dignity,” “peaceful divorce”) is to offer you and your spouse or partner the support, protection, and guidance of your own lawyers without going to court.

Advantages to Collaborative Divorce include:

Collaborative Family Law

 Your Collaborative Divorce Team – Trained Experts with Specialized Skills

In collaborative divorce, a team of collaboratively trained experts with specialised skills and information are available to help manage the emotional and financial aspects of your divorce. Your Calgary collaborative divorce team may include financial advisors and mental health professionals serving as divorce coaches and child specialists. The goal of all professionals is to educate and support you and your spouse in reaching an agreement that will meet the long-term interests of all family members. Your collaborative lawyer and other trained experts will assist you with the following:

  • Negotiating an intelligent settlement agreement, respectfully, without having courts decide issues;
  • Facilitating effective communication and information sharing; and
  • Assisting you and your spouse to create shared solutions acknowledging the interests and objectives that you have identified as most important to you.

The Collaborative divorce negotiating process is characterized by a series of meetings between you and your spouse or partner, your lawyers and the appropriate collaborative team members. The meetings will provide you with the structure and support for achieving a settlement that is in the best interest of all family members.

At McNeil Family Law, we believe that most divorces or family law disputes can benefit from this solution-oriented process.  However, Collaborative Divorce is most successful when both parties agree to use the process and retain a family lawyer who is highly competent and trained in Collaborative Law. If you are interested in this process, please refer your spouse or partner to the Collaborative Divorce in Alberta web site www.collaborativepractice.ca to find trained Collaborative Law lawyers.

Contact the McNeill Family Law Office today.

Calgary family law lawyer, Beryl McNeill has extensive training and experience with assisting clients with a Collaborative Divorce. If you are interested in learning more about this option, call 403-410-3844 to speak with Beryl or schedule an appointment.

Beryl McNeill interview with Global TV on Collaborative Divorce

Frequently Asked Questions about Collaborative Divorce

Can any lawyer be a Collaborative Divorce lawyer?

Although any family lawyer can technically say they can do collaborative divorce, you will want to make sure you hire a Registered Collaborative Family Law Lawyer who has received specialised training in the Harvard Model of Interest Based Negotiation Theory (based on the Win-Win Paradigm set out in “Getting to Yes” by Roger Fisher and William Ury). It is also important they also have a minimum of 40 hours of Family Mediation Training.

What are the principles for Collaborative Divorce?

  1. Negotiating the dissolution of your marriage in an atmosphere of honesty, co-operation, integrity and professionalism geared toward your future well-being and the well-being of your family;
  2. Giving full, honest and open disclosure of all relevant information, whether requested or not;
  3. Protecting the privacy, respect and dignity of all involved;
  4. Maintaining a high standard of integrity and specifically will not take advantage of your spouse, and will not take advantage of the miscalculations or inadvertent mistakes of others, and;
  5. No contested court applications.

Can any divorce be a Collaborative Divorce?

In order for you and your lawyers to elect the Collaborative Process you must sign a Collaborative contract which sets out the rules which are consistent with the principles that have been set out above.

How is Collaborative Law different from traditional litigation?

This model is distinct from negotiating within a traditional litigation context which is based on a Win-Lose Adversarial Model and approximately 700 Rules of Court. The Rules dictate everything from how much information you must disclose; when you must disclose information; how you give evidence; how a lawyer can Discover you; how and when a lawyer can Cross Examine you; how a lawyer can make demands for you to appear in court, etc.

View a table comparing the Collaborative Model to the Litigation Model.

Is Collaborative Divorce the best choice for everyone?

For many families, the Collaborative Model is the most appropriate forum for them to work out the very emotional and painful task of dissolving their marriage and if they have children, reconfiguring their parenting relationship in a way that is the least harmful to their children.

However, the Collaborative Model may not be recommended if there is reason to believe thatimmediate steps are required to protect yourself, your property or your children from your spouse (e.g., your spouse is abusive to you or your children or may hide or otherwise dispose of assets without your consent).

How Do I get started?

Calgary family law lawyer, Beryl McNeill has extensive training and experience with assisting clients with a Collaborative Divorce. If you are interested in learning more about this option, call 403-410-3844 to speak with Beryl or schedule an appointment.