When you enter into a Collaborative Law negotiation, you have a lawyer advocating on your behalf, and there’s another lawyer advocating on the other party’s behalf. Meetings involve you, the other party, and the respective lawyers, and the goal is to settle any outstanding issues outside of a courtroom setting.
In the Collaborative Law process, the lawyers involved cannot go to court and litigate against each other or the parties. This accomplishes several things crucial to developing a solution:
1. It defuses the emotional and egotistical tension in the room. Although tensions and egos can get strained in the Collaborative process, the Collaborative lawyers will never be able to actually fight each other or attack the other party in court. This has the general effect of making both the lawyers and parties approach each other in a more Collaborative and conciliatory fashion and less as a competition.
2. Because the involved lawyers will not be able to carry out any courtroom strategy or tactic, if courthouse options or likely results are discussed, they are discussed in a less personal and less emotionally threatening way.
3. Because of the time and energy involved in getting a new lawyer up to speed for courtroom preparations, participants in the CL process have a financial and emotional incentive to make the CL process work and avoid starting over and the extra step of preparing for a courtroom battle.
This provision also transforms the role of the attorneys involved from being battling adversaries to engaged problem solvers. Rather than fighting against one another and leaving the decision in the hands of a judge, lawyers can help bring the divorcing parties together on any issues that might be unresolved at the outset of the negotiations. With this simple provision, the whole tenor of a Collaborative Law negotiation becomes one of cooperation rather than contention.