Tamara Marshall attended the Annual Networking and Educational Forum of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP) held this October at the Palmer House in Chicago. The forum was well attended by professionals from all over the world. The IACP is an international community of legal, mental health, and financial professionals working together to create client-centered conflict resolution processes. Tamara has been offering the collaborative process as an option to her divorce and family law clients since 2009 as a way to minimize conflict and cost.
Collaborative Law uses cooperative methods, rather than adversarial techniques and litigation, to resolve the legal issues associated with the divorce process. The collaborative team consists of the husband and wife, and their respective attorneys. The team enters into a collaborative law contract agreeing to use collaborative approaches to find a mutually agreeable solution to their differences. In addition to attorneys, other collaborative professionals (i.e. financial planner or child development expert) can be added to the collaborative team depending on the needs and financial resources of the parties.
If either the husband, wife, or both, make a decision that leads to court proceedings, both attorneys and any other collaborative professionals, are disqualified from further representation and are required by the collaborative law contract to withdraw from the case and, the husband and wife must proceed in litigation with new attorneys and expert witnesses if applicable.
The advantages of ending a marriage through the collaborative law process are many:
- Lower costs. All efforts of the attorneys are directed at reaching a settlement, rather than waiting in court for a judge to issue rulings or preparing for trial. If child development or financial experts are utilized, the financial resources are expended on neutral professionals rather than both parties hiring experts to offer opposing opinions.
- Higher level of client involvement. All negotiations include the entire collaborative team which gives the husband and wife a greater sense of participation and ownership of the solutions generated. The husband and wife fully take on the responsibility of making decisions impacting the lives of their children and themselves, rather than allowing a total stranger to make these important decisions for them.
- Reduced stress. The process avoids the fear and stress associated with unfamiliar and unpredictable court proceedings. Everyone can focus on settlement rather than worrying about positioning themselves for the threat of “going to court.”
- Creative and personalized solutions. The team is free to come up with solutions specifically tailored to the unique needs of a specific family, rather than having one-size-fits-all fixes imposed on them by the court system.
- Speed. The collaborative team sets the pace, rather than being bogged down by crowded court calendars.