The Process

The Collaborative Family Law ("CFL") process moves by managed four-way meetings, preceded by considerable preparation between the lawyer and their client as well as between the lawyers involved. In general, the following five steps have been utilized within the CFL process:

  1. Initial Lawyer-Client Consultation

    During this first meeting, you will meet with your lawyer to discuss your goals, process options and any concerns you may have about CFL and the separation in and of itself. At this point, your lawyer will advise whether CFL would be appropriate in your situation. For example, in order for CFL to be effective, both spouses must be willing to negotiate and work towards an amicable separation agreement. Animosity or deceptive negotiations will not be accepted within the CFL process.

  2. Initial Contact Between Lawyers for the Separating Spouses

    In the spirit of team approach necessary for the CFL process, the lawyers for the separating spouses will discuss any immediate concerns, agree to disclose information as necessary to solve these concerns, discuss expectations at the first settlement meeting, confirm which CFL Participation Agreement will be used, who will prepare it and make the arrangements for the first settlement meeting.

  3. Preparation for the first collaborative meeting

    During your meeting with your lawyer, they will discuss with you the tasks and roles of the lawyers and spouses. Further, your lawyer will provide you with key communication tools that will enable you to better negotiate and rules to abide by at the settlement meetings.

  4. Collaborative meetings

    At the first meeting, the parties introduce themselves to one another and discuss any concerns they may have as well as the provisions of the Participation Agreement. The parties will then decide as to what information may be shared, issues that need to be addressed are prioritized, and the schedule set for further meetings.

    During the meetings, the parties will discuss all of the issues on the agenda created until each has been resolved. At the end of each meeting, the lawyers will meet with their clients to discuss the events which had occurred during the meeting and how to best proceed at the next meeting.

  5. Create and Sign the Separation Agreement

    Together, the lawyers will draft the Separation Agreement based upon the collaborative meetings and include within the draft language specifically chosen by the separating spouses. The lawyers will ensure that the agreement addresses both clients' needs, that it complies with the law and will work in practice.