Bethesda and DC Collaborative Law Divorce Lawyer

What is Collaborative Law?

Collaborative law is a relatively new, and very exciting, dispute resolution process. It was created by a Minnesota family law attorney, Stuart Webb, who thought that there had to be a better, less destructive way to resolve family law issues than the court model.

The Collaborative Process is one in which the parties and their attorneys engage in a “win win” negotiation. It’s a negotiation in which the interests and needs of each party, and the children, are identified. Then the parties work together to try to reach a settlement that will meet those needs. The parties commit to total transparency as to finances and relevant facts. Virtually all explorations of options, as well as discussions of solutions, occur in group meetings in which both clients and both attorneys are present. Frequently, there is a neutral financial professional to assist the parties understand budgeting, tax, and asset issues. Often there are divorce coaches—mental health professionals—who help with the emotional barriers to reaching consensus. The goal is non-adversarial problem solving resulting in a “win-win” outcome.

The Collaborative Process is frequently chosen by parties who wish to resolve issues in a dignified and respectful manner so as to lay the foundation for a cordial future relationship, or effective future co-parenting. The parties agree they will resolve issues without going to Court, and, should either party actually file a contested lawsuit, that they will each have to hire new counsel to proceed in Court. Some clients worry that unscrupulous attorneys will push for litigation to make more fees. They are reassured by knowing the attorneys have no financial incentive to impede a settlement. Additionally, the potential cost of hiring new counsel serves as a strong incentive to getting an Agreement finalized in the Collaborative Law Process.

Who can Effectively Use the Collaborative Law Process?

Many people can effectively use the Collaborative Law Process. Is is particularly attractive to people who want to see themselves, their spouse and their children, have cordial relations in the future. It is particularly attractive to people who are not out to “punish” the other person, but want to find workable solutions for all. It is particularly attractive to people who want to avoid the temporal and emotional costs of litigation.

The Collaborative Law Process is not a process that should be used if a client thinks their spouses is fundamentally dishonest about financial matters.


This is not legal advice. Please read our "disclaimer" to understand why this information is not a substitute for legal advice.