Toronto Collaborative Family Law Services

What Is Collaborative Family Law?

In Toronto, collaborative family lawyers assist two individual parties in negotiating a resolution of their dispute. Prior to pursuing collaborative family law, both parties and their lawyers will sign a contract committing to the process in advance.

There are certain specific guidelines that are contained in this contract which is called a Participation Agreement. This agreement details that the parties will make full financial disclosure, cooperate with each other, work to settle the case in the best interests of everyone involved, and not go to court.

This is a voluntary process.

Each spouse will have a Lawyer that is trained in Collaborative Family Law. The goal when working on this settlement is to work to help both parties achieve the best possible outcome for all parties and children involved.

Working through the Collaborative Family Law process can be beneficial for separating couples, couples working on the details of a marriage contract, and couples working on a cohabitation agreement. During each of these processes, discussions revolve around both parties’ concerns and interests in a positive, non-adversarial manner.

In Collaborative Family Law, both parties commit to:

  • Negotiate a mutually acceptable settlement without going to court.
  • Maintain open communication and information sharing.
  • Create customized solutions that consider the priorities of both spouses.
  • Keep information confidential and private except for specified financial disclosure.

What is the Process to Select Collaborative Family Law?

When you initiate a divorce, selecting the type of process to use is the first decision you will need to make. We encourage parties to consider the following benefits of utilizing Collaborative Family Law.

  • Respectful communication is an integral part of Collaborative Family Law and will allow both parties to indicate each of your priorities and create a plan to achieve those goals.
  • During Collaborative Family Law, both parties must make full disclosure of financial information and create a settlement that ideally meets both parties’ interests.
  • Because both parties sign a participation agreement, there is a level of commitment to resolving the issues out of court.
  • The whole process is voluntary. As such, if you decide the process is not working, you may voluntarily end the process.
  • Parties maintain control over the process and can customize decisions, so the process meets your needs.

What Is the Difference Between Collaborative Family Law and Mediation?

If you do not pursue Collaborative Family Law, you may use mediation, litigation, or arbitration. Unlike Collaborative Family Law where YOU control the process, in mediation, litigation, or arbitration, mediators, judges, or arbitrators control the process. In mediation, the mediator creates a customized process after completing intake sessions with both parties. Subsequently, the mediator and you and your spouse will discuss issues to reach a settlement. If you are able to reach an agreement, the mediator will create a Memorandum of Understanding. You will then need to work with an attorney to turn the Memorandum of Understanding into a Separation Agreement. In litigation or arbitration, Family Law Rules govern the proceedings and court actions. Statutes will apply to issues and the judge will decide which legal issues to focus on.

DIVORCE AND SEPARATION DO NOT NEED TO BE HOSTILE

The core benefit of Collaborative Family Law is that the process is geared to be positive and goal-oriented. This process avoids the hostility that is typically present in mediation and court proceedings. Our lawyers are able to accomplish financial and other goals through Collaborative Family Law in a way that minimizes the stress and maximizes the results.

What are the Costs of Collaborative Family Law?

While there are more individuals involved in Collaborative Family Law, the professionals involved are subject-matter experts and are able to use their specialization to assess the issues in the most efficient and effective manner. Mediation can be cost-effective because parties share the cost of a mediator, but drafting the settlement agreement and utilizing lawyers to settle disputes can get costly. Litigation is the most expensive option requiring significant time and resources to prepare court documents throughout the process.

When do we start the process with Collaborative Family Law?

The process of working with an experienced collaborative family lawyer begins with the very first call. The exact length of time the process will take can depend on the complexity of your financial information and how well both parties can collaborate and cooperate to work out conflict areas. We will guide you through the process to help accomplish your goals. Overall, this can typically take several months to a year to achieve and complete.

How Can My Family Benefit From Collaborative Family Law Services?

In addition to the many benefits mentioned above, Collaborative Family Law encourages you and your spouse to share your opinions rather than the lawyer speaking on your behalf. All professionals work as a team on your behalf and communicate during the entire process to accomplish a positive settlement. Consequentially, this process helps to protect emotional well-being and avoid stress.

There are also unique benefits to parents utilizing Collaborative Family Law Services. For example, you may meet with a Family Professional to discuss parenting schedules and other issues that will impact your children.

Finding The Right Toronto Collaborative Family Lawyer For You And Your Family

It is crucial to find a Collaborative Family Lawyer that is comfortable and familiar with the process.

Ready to take the first step? — Schedule a consultation today.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between collaborative law and mediation?

The main difference between collaborative law and mediation is how the parties are represented. In mediation, there is an unbiased third party responsible for facilitating the process. In collaborative law, each party has their own designated representative who will advocate for their best interests while also working with the other representative to help the process run smoothly and fairly.

When should I first contact a collaborative family lawyer in Toronto?

You should contact a collaborative family lawyer as soon as you think you may need one! No matter what family law issue you are facing, if you feel there is a possibility of resolving it collaboratively, you should get in touch with a lawyer as soon as possible.

How does a collaborative divorce work?

A collaborative divorce, as evidenced by its name, is a divorce that seeks to avoid the fighting that many people face during divorce. Each spouse will be represented by a collaborative family lawyer, and everyone will work together as a team to help make sure the terms of the divorce are fair and agreed upon by all.

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