Who Is Involved?

Who Is Involved In The Collaborative Process?

Many wonder who is involved in the collaborative process? The following are generally those who play a part in this process

Collaborative Practice and Who Is Involved

  A. Parties

The parties involved choose the collaborative process to negotiate a resolution of their matter without having a ruling imposed on them by a family court judge. Both parties should hire a lawyer who is trained in the collaborative method and must agree to the terms of the participation agreement prior to beginning the process. Both parties should be fully advised on the process and how collaborative law works before they are to the process. The spouses should understand that the process involve rigorous face-to-face settlement meetings to negotiate the matter involving the parties, their respective collaborative lawyers, and any other professional members of the collaborative team. Both spouses must also agree to any others who are present at meetings in the collaborative process.

B. Counsel

Lawyers who engage in the collaborative law process should be trained in collaborative practice. The International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (also known as the IACP) requires that professionals complete mediation and interdisciplinary training before helping clients in collaborative matters. The role of the lawyer in collaborative practice is opposite from that in contested divorce and family law litigation. The goal of a collaborative lawyer should be to achieve a fair and amicable settlement in a private outside of court. The collaborative lawyers should not make settlement decisions for their clients or negotiate with the other lawyer outside of settlement meetings. In other words, there are not settlement offers being sent back and forth outside of meetings. Instead, all negotiations take place in the collaborative sessions during meetings. Prior to any meetings, the collaborative lawyers will confer with all members of the collaborative professionals’ team to plan the agendas for upcoming meetings.      

C. Experts/Advisors

A team of professionals is put together to help the parties settle their dispute outside our court. The areas of disputes can be legal or emotional in nature. The team of professionals can be mental health counselors/coaches for each party, financial neutrals, accountants, parenting gurus, child therapists, vocational experts, and appraisers, if needed. Experts joining the team should be neutral and not retained by one of the parties. These experts can be vital in terms of helping the parties resolve their case by helping come up with potential solutions. It is critical to a team’s overall success to determine what each professional’s role will be and what skills they can bring to the team. The experts and advisers may meet with each party individually prior to meeting with the whole team. This allows the professionals to have a better understanding of what each party’s needs are to better understand the team as a whole.

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