Collaborative practice is a problem solving and conflict resolution process option. In collaborative practice, each participant has an attorney who has been trained in the collaborative practice method. The basic principles and the foundation of collaborative practice are rooted in mediation. Similar to mediation, the collaborative practice approach relies on voluntary sharing of information and a willingness to engage and fully participate in the process. The attorneys, though advocates for their respective clients, are collaborators not adversaries. The attorneys facilitate the process and the participants together with the attorneys, determine what issues need to be discussed, share their perspectives and generate options to resolve the issues. The attorneys provide information about the law so that the participants can make informed decisions.
The cornerstone of the process is that if at any time either of the participants choose to go to court to resolve any of the issues, the attorneys agree that they will not represent their client. This removes the threat of litigation from the process and helps the participants to be more creative in resolving the issues.
Collaborative practice offers a multidisciplinary team approach to working together. A neutral financial professional can assist the participants with reviewing financial information, creating budgets or understanding the nature and value of their assets. Family specialists can provide support to participants if there are emotional challenges to working together. In addition, they can help with parenting issues and creating a parenting plan. The team is formed to meet the needs of the participants and ensure that everyone receives the support necessary to engage in the process and make decisions together. In the event that the team approach is employed, Teresa will help you choose the right professional to provide you with support and guidance.