The Process

How does it work?

 

When you are going through a separation or divorce, you may find yourself feeling pulled in many different directions and have lots of questions about the divorce process. Our experienced family lawyers, family professionals and financial professionals believe that the collaborative team approach reduces that confusion. Our professionals understand that there can be many challenges associated with separation and divorce, and our purpose is to provide you with custom solutions that work for your family.


Collaborative Law is practiced throughout Ontario and is an alternative to the traditional legal approach that uses and relies on Court.  


In Collaborative approach, the lawyers still each advocate for their client but in a team approach where they focus on the interests of each client and their children for a client-focused process, in which the spouses can reach a fair and balanced agreement without going to court. Our team of expert advisers will work closely with you to address legal questions and concerns, as well as address the emotional and financial consequences of separation and divorce.  We are committed to making the entire process more cost-efficient and time-efficient by encouraging cooperation from all parties.

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Steps

Get Started

You and your spouse each hire a specially trained Collaborative Family Lawyer who is registered with CPW and, if needed, you may also choose to work with collaboratively trained neutral family and financial professionals. Adding professionals does not necessarily mean added cost, as the goal is to distribute work between professionals in a coordinated manner. With their support and guidance, you and your spouse work together in a cooperative, non-adversarial fashion. 

Sign a Participation Agreement

You and your spouse promise in writing to voluntarily disclose all financial and other relevant information, to communicate respectfully, and to act in good faith as you negotiate toward a settlement. There are no threatening letters between lawyers, no affidavits with hurtful accusations, and no stressful court appearances. Better still, by avoiding court, your personal and financial information remains completely private. 

Conduct Settlement Meetings

 Settlement meetings are structured discussions in which you, your spouse, and your lawyers communicate and negotiate directly with one another. This constructive and forward focused meeting – and the whole Collaborative Process in general – is very much a team-based approach to resolving family law disputes. It is often helpful to include other Collaborative professionals, such as family and financial specialists in this meeting. With your team of collaborative professionals, you and your spouse are encouraged to work through your emotions in order to make comprehensive legal, financial, and child-related agreements. 

Negotiate

 In the Collaborative Process, an interest-based problem solving approach is encouraged and decision-making is solely up to you and your spouse. Your Collaborative Professionals are there to help you prioritize and communicate your most important goals and keep settlement discussions focused on crafting creative and customized solutions, specific to the problems and concerns of both you and your spouse. Because of this, future conflict resolution can become easier to manage and carried out with integrity and respect. 

Resolve

 Once an understanding is reached on all of the issues and both you and your spouse are satisfied with the balance that has been struck, a written agreement is drafted by the lawyers. Once signed by you and your spouse, this becomes your Separation Agreement, which is a binding and enforceable contract. 

Finalize

The Binding Separation Agreement is the resolution of all matters.  If you wish to obtain a divorce, you have the right to ask your lawyer to assist you.