Collaborative Family Law (the process preferred by many of Barbara’s clients)
In the right circumstances, Collaborative Family Law or the Collaborative Process can be the most beneficial, custom fitting and transformative resolution process available to family law clients. It can also be the least expensive process available, both from an emotional and financial perspective.
In Collaborative Family Law, you and your spouse agree to work together with your lawyers (who have trained and certified to practice in the Collaborative Process), along with financial or parenting Collaborative Professionals (as needed), to generate options cooperatively to resolve your differences without going to court.
By entering into the Collaborative Process, you and your spouse take a significant step toward a positive new beginning for yourselves and for your families by choosing not to enter into a combative process. Instead, you’ll work together with your lawyers (and other collaborative professionals, as needed) to achieve each party’s goals in a respectful and creative way, and to find timely and comprehensive resolutions to the issues you face. No matter how complicated the circumstances may be, in the collaborative process each spouse will be given the legal, parenting and financial information needed to make the best decisions available to maintain strong post-separation family relationships and financial
Barbara believes strongly in the collaborative process, having witnessed the often transformative experience of her clients. She is an involved and active member of the Ontario Association of Collaborative Professionals Federation, the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, and sat on the Board of Collaborative Practice Toronto, chairing one of their many active committees.
Steps Taken In the Collaborative Process:
- Identify interests and goals (what is important to you, your spouse, and your children)
- Gather financial, legal and other necessary information
- Explain the settlement options under the legal model
- Create various settlement options specific to the your circumstances
- Evaluate and select the option that works best and prepare the Separation Agreement which will reflect and formalize the agreed-upon arrangements
In Collaborative Family Law, you, your spouse, and your lawyers will enter into a Participation Agreement, and then work through these steps together during in-person or Zoom meetings (together or in separate rooms) and sometimes between meetings through telephone calls or emails. The Participation Agreement formalizes your commitment to negotiate in good faith and the collaborative lawyers’ commitment to negotiate outside of court. The lawyers are obligated to withdraw if either spouse decides to go to court.
The Collaborative Process allows for the involvement, if needed, of financial professionals (financial planners, accountants and valuators) who streamline the gathering and analysis of financial documentation and add value to the negotiations.
The Collaborative Process also allows for the involvement, if needed, of family professionals (parenting mediators, neutral facilitators, coaches and child specialists) who provide information and assist in the negotiation of a parenting plan. They can identify what needs to be discussed in the process and provide support to ensure that children are protected from conflict and are assisted with the transition to their new family circumstances. Family professionals also facilitate collaborative meetings in order to maintain constructive communication and focus on the issues for resolution.