Advantages and Disadvantages

For those spouses who are open and willing to commit to open and honest negotiation, and full and frank disclosure, Collaborative Family Law ("CFL") provides numerous advantages. By creating a settlement together with your spouse, you will garner an agreement which will serve to meet both of your needs, some of which may not have been addressed had the matter been litigated. The CFL process is less costly with little to no animosity as would have been incurred in the resolution of the matter through court determination. Spouses will also benefit from the fact that anything discussed within the CFL meetings cannot be discussed outside thereof without the consent of both parties. Lastly, in pursuing the CFL process, it does not prevent the spouses from utilizing the court method. Rather, the spouses maintain that right. However, should they choose utilize their right to litigate, their CFL lawyer cannot be their advocate during litigation.

Not all spousal separations are appropriate for CFL. For example, should spouses not wish to compromise, or believe that the other is not trustworthy and therefore need to hide assets to protect themselves, CFL would not be effective. Further, if there are significant power imbalances between the couple, the traditional litigation, with all of its rules and sanctions, may better serve to protect the rights of the less dominant spouse. Also, while all parties involved in the CFL may work together to reach a settlement, not every collaborative effort may produce an agreement. Consequently, the time and expense that would be required to rehire a new lawyer and take the matter to court must be considered.

For more information on this increasingly popular method of resolving family matters, see our Resource Link page to access the website for The Collaborative Family Law Association of Waterloo-Wellington.