Frequently asked questions on collaborative law
How is collaborative law different from mediation?
In mediation, you and your spouse try to resolve your conflicts with the help of a neutral mediator. The mediator cannot give you legal advice. In collaborative law, you are represented by an attorney throughout the process.
If there are mental health and financial professionals, won’t the case be more expensive? No. Using mental health and financial professionals in addition to lawyers often makes the case less expensive. For example, having a neutral financial professional assist you and your spouse with budgets or division of assets is less expensive than having two attorneys work on those issues.
I need an aggressive attorney. Will my collaborative lawyer be aggressive?
Your collaborative attorney will not want to waste your energy and resources advocating for you in an adversarial manner. This does not mean your rights will not be protected. This means that the process will be calm and respectful so that all involved can take make rational decisions. The goal is to protect your interests but do so in a stress-free environment.
I have my own financial planner or mental health professional, do I have to use one from the group? You can continue to use your own mental health professional or financial planner but you may not want that person to become part of the team. If that person has worked with you individually, you may need a neutral person assist you and your spouse. This can be discussed during the initial collaborative meetings.
Do I go to court?
You will work outside of court to settle your matter. Once your case is settled, you may be required to appear before a judge to obtain an uncontested divorce.
I am already divorced but a legal issue has come up. Can I use a collaborative process? Yes. A collaborative process can be used for both divorce and post-divorce matters.