What is Collaborative Law?

Collaborative Law in the area of Family Law provides a positive context in which to address the often difficult emotions and issues that arise during the divorce process without resorting to litigation. The Collaborative Law dispute resolution model is one in which both parties retain separate, specially-trained lawyers whose only job is to help them settle the dispute. If the lawyers do not succeed in helping the clients resolve the problem, the lawyers are prohibited (by the terms of their contract or participation agreement) from representing either client in traditional divorce litigation.

All participants agree to work together respectfully, honestly, and in good faith to try to find solutions to the legitimate needs of both parties so that both sides “win” rather than simply compromise to “get it done.” Both parties also agree not to go to court without an agreement in place, or even threaten to do so. In fact, if a party threatens litigation, the Collaborative Law process terminates and both lawyers are disqualified from any further involvement in the case.

The solutions drafted during the collaborative process are often more creative and better meet the needs of the parties than the decrees the Court is able to issue given the small amount of time the parties spend before a Judge and the limited resources of the Court. The adversarial process inflames the emotional controversy and disables parties from focusing on the issues in a productive manner. The attorneys in the collaborative process are specially trained to keep the parties focused on resolving the issues in a manner that is best for the entire family while still being able to act as an advocate to help clients navigate the difficulties involved in divorce and other family disputes.

I choose to participate in the Collaborative Process team model because it generally involves a divorce coach who is there to help clients avoid letting their fear and other heightened emotions control their points of view, take over and prevent them from reaching a settlement that is truly best for the entire family.

The Greater Lowell Collaborative Law attorneys at Berid & Schutzbank focus on collaborative law in Massachusetts as an alternative to divorce litigation. The attorneys of Berid & Schutzbank have practiced law in Massachusetts for over thirty years and serve all of Middlesex County, Worcester County, and the Greater Lowell region including Andover, Billerica, Burlington, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Dracut, Groton, Lawrence, Methuen, Tewksbury, and Wilmington, Massachusetts.

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