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Collaborative Family Law

CFL is an alternative dispute resolution, which means it is one process parties may choose to use in order to settle their family law matters.  As used here, “process” means the way the dispute is addressed, such as litigation (law suit filed in court), family financial mediation, arbitration or CFL.  This type of dispute resolution is a fairly new concept, and it is not right for everyone. However, for the cases where the parties agree to participate in CFL, it can be a productive way to reach an agreement.  An experienced trial attorney is in a strong position to advise you of the alternatives and determine whether the CFL process is in your best interest.

The heart of CFL is that the parties agree not to threaten litigation.  If one of them files a lawsuit (or attempts to move forward in court with a pending lawsuit), the CFL attorneys are required by state law to withdraw from the case, forcing the parties to employ litigation attorneys. However, if the dispute cannot be fully resolved by CFL, the parties may choose to keep their CFL attorneys for family financial mediation or arbitration.  Family financial mediation is an out of court process in which the parties attempt to reach an agreement with the help of a neutral mediator. Arbitration is an out of court process in which an arbitrator chosen by the parties makes a ruling after the parties and their attorneys make presentations to the arbitrator.

Except for the divorce itself, which requires a “friendly” lawsuit, parties may choose to use CFL for any family law matters, including child custody and support, property division, spousal support, or non-traditional family situations. CFL agreements need not be filed at the courthouse, which means the settlement can be kept private and confidential.

Collaborative Divorce Association of Eastern Carolina

International Academy of Collaborative Professionals

See also:

The Collaborative Way to Divorce: The Revolutionary Method That Results in Less Stress, LowerCosts, and Happier Ki ds–Without Going to Court.  By Stuart G. Webb.

Member of the IACP: International Academy of Collaborative Professionals

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