Nicole K. Habl

What is Collaborative Law?

Collaborative Law is a non-litigation approach to problem solving that takes �going to court� off the table. It is especially effective in family law cases in which the parties need to maintain an ongoing relationship.

In a case being resolved through collaborative law, the parties and their respective lawyers engage in four-way settlement meetings. They all work together to establish agendas, set realistic deadlines for document exchanges, and create a safe, open and fair environment for resolving conflict.

The process works because the attorneys are trained to listen to their client�s needs and interests, while at the same time demonstrating concern for the other party�s needs and interests. Although each attorney represents his or her own client first and foremost, both attorneys are focused on the big picture of resolving the problem to the benefit of both clients and to the benefit of the children.

In traditional litigation, each side prepares their case to persuade the judge that only their view has merit. All actions are driven by that goal. In a collaborative law case, facts and figures need not be manipulated because the parties will not present their case to a judge. Rather than "smoke and mirrors", the collaborative law case process is based on the parties understanding of each other�s point of view. This does not mean that they will agree on everything but it does facilitate settlement, enhance trust and reduce hostility.

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©2008 Nicole K. Habl, P.A. All Rights Reserved.

Nicole K. Habl