Collaborative law or collaborative practice, refers to a method of resolving a dispute respectfully – without going to court.  You and your spouse each have your own collaboratively trained lawyer.  Your collaborative team also includes a family professional and a financial professional who provide specialized support and guidance through the process.  The team works together to help you find solutions that meet your family's needs.

Collaborative practice requires that both spouses sign a participation agreement at the beginning of the process that states you will:

  • Deal with each other in good faith;
  • Provide all of your financial information to one another;
  • Be respectful, constructive and timely in your written and verbal communication;
  • Put your children's needs first;
  • Share your interests, needs, goals and consider those of your spouse; and
  • Discuss and negotiate options for a mutually acceptable settlement.

The participation agreement also states you will not:

  • Use the threat to go to court as a means of achieving a desired outcome or forcing a settlement; and
  • Take advantage of mistakes.

The participation agreement also confirms that all discussions in the collaborative process are confidential and that your collaborative lawyer cannot act for you in court.

As part of the collaborative process, both parties are required to make full and complete financial disclosure.  For more information about what financial information must be exchanged, click here.

The negotiation process is interest-based.  Collaborative lawyers advocate for their clients, advise them on their rights and obligations under the law, and help them meet the family's most important interests.  The negotiation encourages spouses to work together respectfully and can help improve communication for the future.

For more information about the collaborative process, go to  and

About the Collaborative Process

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Collaborative Practice

Pro Bono Family Law Project