Collaborative Lawyers Negotiate Custody – They Don’t Go to Court

Most people do not want to go to Court. Why would they, it is expensive, takes a long time, causes stress and anxiety, is unpredictable and a stranger will make a decision that is yours to make.

Collaborative Lawyers who sign a Participation Agreement with the parents do not go to Court.  They do not negotiate on your behalf.  Nor do they make your decision for you.  Your lawyer supports you to negotiate at meetings with your ex-partner and their lawyer.

The meetings are similar to attending mediation with your lawyer but without the FDRP.  You agree on items to be put onto an Agenda for each meeting, and the meetings are minuted. The minutes are adopted at the following meeting.  You may enter into interim agreements along the way and at the end of the process, usually after between 2 and 4 meetings you should have a final agreement that you can sign.

The Participation Agreement includes a confidentiality clause, so anything said during the meetings cannot be used if the matter does go to Court.  The Participation Agreement also has a clause that the lawyers will withdraw from representing you in Court if the Collaborative Process fails.  It could be viewed as an additional incentive clause for both of the parents and the lawyers to make sure they negotiate an agreement. “I’ll see you in Court” is not on the agenda.