from Anita Cowley, Denver
COLLABORATIVE LAW is a process in which a divorcing couple agrees to make all of the decisions concerning their divorce themselves, with the assistance and counsel of their attorneys and, when necessary, with the help of neutral, allied professionals.
Most people choose this process to avoid the emotional, volatile and risky process of litigation, when those decisions are taken away from the individuals and made by the Court. Others choose this process to facilitate the creation of a different kind of relationship with their ex-spouse into the future, for their own benefit and for the benefit of their children.
Collaborative Law differs from mediation in several ways. In mediation, all negotiation tactics are used when necessary. These include adversarial, positional bargaining or using prior court decisions to predict how their case would end if taken to court. As a result, compromises beyond an individual’s comfort level are sometimes made for the goal of achieving a full and final settlement in mediation. In collaborative law, all negotiations are interest-based and conducted by the couple themselves, with the assistance of their attorneys and other team members as needed. In collaborative law, the couple remains the captain of their ship. In mediation, the mediator plays the role of the captain. We don’t settle or compromise. Instead, we help couples reach their stated interests and goals.