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collaborate

Collaborative Law

How does the collaborative family law process work?

CFL is a cooperative process instead of an adversarial process, and a key concept of CFL is that the parties should spend their time attempting to figure out realistic solutions to problems, not fighting about fault and blame. The parties and their attorneys sign a CFL agreement that requires the parties to voluntarily share information and look at possible solutions that will be best for the children, not just the parties. The attorneys and clients meet privately as a group in  several “four-way meetings” that include both attorneys and both parties.  At the meetings, the parties gather information about family finances, property, and debts.  The parties then identify their needs and interests, and brainstorm about possible solutions. If the CFL process is successful, the parties will sign the settlement paperwork. There may be uncontested court action required for limited purposes, such as uncontested divorce, which will be filed by consent.

How much does the collaborative family law process cost?

While there are certain Collaborative Family Law (CFL) cases that will cost less than litigation, that is not necessarily the case.  In the CFL process, the parties must agree to share information, such as information about assets and debts. Voluntary sharing of this type of information avoids the cost of what is called discovery in litigation, an expensive and time-consuming endeavor. Another feature of cost saving in the CFL process is sharing the cost of experts, such as appraisers and CPAs.  Because the parties are all trying to find solutions instead of being adversaries, the parties avoid the cost of trial motions, depositions, and a host of other trial procedures that are costly. The parties in a CFL case must recognize each party must have access to funds to continue through the process.

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