Collaborative law refers to a voluntary dispute resolution process that seeks to avoid litigation all together. The process can be shorter than it is when parties litigate their case, mainly because with collaborative law the parties control virtually everything, including timeframes. When parties litigate their case, the busy court dockets, the schedules of third parties, and other factors often lengthen the time between filing an action and obtaining a final resolution.
Additionally, opting to proceed collaboratively with your family law matter may result in the parties saving money since the process often supports and encourages the use of joint neutral experts in lieu of separate experts for each party, and it also requires an agreement on all sides to transparency in discovery. In addition to allowing the parties to maintain control of the progress of a matter, mitigate the costs of resolution and apply available funds to the use of experts that will provide information necessary to a successful and comprehensive resolution of disputed matters, it often allows for greater confidentiality in the process. When parties litigate, certain documents become public record, and the courtroom is a public forum. In the collaborative process, much of your personal information can be made confidential.
Generally, the goal is to contract with your spouse and his or her attorney to communicate and work together, or “collaborate,” to resolve the dispute that avoids the perils of the adversarial court system and provides for a result that leaves both parties financial and emotionally intact. However, the collaborative process requires that if the parties cannot settle their case, they must retain new counsel to litigate their dispute.
Thus, collaborative law can be a great benefit to spouses who are committed to the process and will work towards a mutually satisfying settlement. Nicole L. Goetz is a collaboratively trained attorney. If you would like more information on collaborative law and whether it might be the right choice for you, please contact our office in Naples, Florida to schedule a confidential consultation with Nicole L. Goetz.