General Collaborative Law information
Other Collaborative Law websites of interest
Just as in a traditional divorce case, your lawyer supports you and your spouse's lawyer supports your spouse. Each works hard for the client. But in the collaborative model, each lawyer must practice collaborative law as set forth in the Participation Agreement.
Typically, at the first meeting between you and your lawyer, there will be discussions of the various models available for the resolution of your family disputes. If the lawyer believes it is a suitable collaborative law case, the lawyer will explain the process to you. The lawyer may then provide a list of other collaborative lawyers in the area. Your spouse, or you, would then choose another collaborative lawyer who would explain to your spouse the various alternatives and if that lawyer believes the collaborative model is appropriate, then that lawyer may also recommend the collaborative law approach. The collaborative lawyers will then explain to you a collaborative law Participation Agreement.
This is the framework for you, your spouse and your respective attorneys to develop resolutions of your divorcing issues. A hallmark feature of the collaborative model is each lawyer pledges not to take the case to court, except for a non-contested divorce. Both parties are free to abandon the collaborative law process if they feel so compelled to make immediate application to a court. However, they cannot use those lawyers who were involved in the collaborative process.
Though each collaborative law case tends to develop somewhat differently, some of the patterns are virtually the same. Typically, the lawyers initiate four-way meetings between the lawyers and their clients. The parties and their attorneys have access to and share all financial documents and information. These meetings promote improved communication and cooperation, and foster an environment to allow for analysis, exploration, and reasoning. In turn, various options and opportunities are created, and positive contacts for settlement are promoted. This process puts control in the parties over the outcome.
Like all attorneys, lawyers who practice collaborative family law have been admitted to practice before the highest court of the State of Maryland and have been members of the Maryland Bar for at least five (5) years. Each member of the MCLA, Inc. has substantial experience in family law. MCLA lawyers commit to the process, as well as the outcome. Each has received special training and education in collaborative family law.
The parties and their lawyers agree to uphold the standards of integrity and if inconsistencies and miscalculations occur, they are encouraged, in some circumstances, obligated to correct them. Collaborative lawyers work as hard for you as they would if they were to prepare for and conduct a trial.
They provide complete, honest and open disclosure of all relevant information and documentation. This is typically done without formal proceedings or formal discovery. If an impasse arises, they suggest various alternatives to resolve those issues, including hiring specialists, for example, child counselors, financial consultants, accountants, et.
In collaborative law, an attorney's continued employment depends upon the attorney's ability to design acceptable settlement options. So if the process proves unsuccessful, or either party wants to or needs to go to court, both lawyers must withdraw. Each will then help the respective clients find lawyers and work towards making a quick, efficient, and smooth transition.
Your lawyer is obligated under the rules which control the behavior of the attorneys in Maryland to be a advocate for your positions and for you. The collaborative process does not discourage your lawyer to be your advocate.