The parties will give full, honest and open disclosure of all information, whether requested or not.
There will be informal discussions and conferences to settle all issues.
The parties direct all attorneys, accountants, therapists, appraisers and other consultants to work in a cooperative effort to resolve issues without resort to litigation or any other external decision-making process except as agreed upon.
The parties understand that they are still expected to assert their respective interests and that their attorneys will help them do so. They understand that they should not lapse into a false sense of security that the process will protect each of them, fully.
The parties understand that while their collaborative attorneys share a commitment to the collaborative law process, each of them has a professional duty to represent his or her own client diligently, and is not the attorney for the other party.
If experts are needed, they will be retained jointly unless all parties and their attorneys agree otherwise in writing.
All agree to act quickly to discuss and resolve differences related to the children to promote a caring, loving and involved relationship between the children and both parents.
The parties agree to insulate their children from involvement in the family law disputes and agree to attend the A.C.T. Program (Acting for Children Through Transition) or similar parenting education program in a county where a program is available.
All understand that the process, even with full and honest disclosure, will involve vigorous good faith negotiation.
Each of the parties will be expected to make a reasoned statement of legitimate needs and interests in all disputes. Where such legitimate needs and interests differ, each of the parties will be encouraged to use their best efforts to create proposals that meet the fundamental needs of both of the parties and the family to reach a settlement of all issues.
Although the participants may discuss the likely outcome of a litigated result, no one will use threats of litigation as a way of forcing settlement.
In the event that the collaborative law process terminates, all consultants will be disqualified as witnesses and their work product will be inadmissible as evidence unless the parties agree otherwise in writing.
Once people become aware of Collaborative Law and decide they would like to try it, the next question for them is, “How do I get started?”
Here are some simple steps to follow: