Collaborative law is a new alternative dispute resolution method. It is different from litigation in that its first premise is that the majority of cases are settled out of court. Why not then start discussions immediately, rather than commence legal proceedings which come at a financial and emotional cost.
Mediation has an independent third party, a mediator, sitting in with the parties, which sometimes can put a party in a weaker position since both parties do not necessarily have equal knowledge or understanding of the law. Moreover, the mediator is not necessarily a lawyer.
Collaborative law differs from mediation
in that both parties are assisted by their respective lawyer.
The principle is for parties and lawyers to sign a 4-way Participation Agreement which will lead to a final agreement settling all aspects of the matter. Should one party decide to discontinue the collaborative law process, both parties will need to start proceedings with new lawyers.
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