WHAT IS COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE?
You and your spouse are the ones that make the decisions about your family rather than a court Judge
It is an informal yet structured negotiation process to discuss issues arising from your separation and explore and settle on resolutions outside of court
It is a cooperative, safe, and positive settlement environment
You are supported during the discussion of issues by your own experienced family law lawyer
Your lawyer assists you and works together collaboratively with
your spouse's lawyer to facilitate the negotiation process to minimize any animosity, anxiety, and expenses
HOW DO WE START
Contact a collaborative lawyer of your choice anywhere in Ontario
Each spouse will have an initial meeting with their collaborative lawyer at which time you will sign a Retainer Agreement which authorizes your lawyer to be your legal representative
Your lawyer can invite your spouse to participate
The lawyers will contact each other to review priority issues and set up the first four-way meeting
The goal is for the spouses to sign a Separation Agreement
COLLABORATIVE VS. COURT
Who controls the process?
You and your spouse control the process and make the final decisions.
A Judge controls the process and make the final decisions
Collaborative is less expensive than going to court by being efficient in use of experts and resources. Each spouse should budget for $7,000 to $10,000.
Court costs are unpredictable and each spouse could spend a minimum of $20,000 even if the parties settle before a trial. If you go to trial, this could easily add another $20,000 or more to your legal fees.
You and your spouse, together with your lawyers, decide when you want to set meetings. On average, an agreement is reached within four joint meetings.
The Judge sets the date; often delayed due to busy court calendars. It could take years to finalize your matter.
Involvement of lawyers
Your specially trained collaborative lawyers work together to facilitate the negotiation of a mutually agreeable Separation Agreement.
Spend a lot of time producing legal documents and attending court rather than focusing on solutions.
All details of the process are kept private and confidential.
The dispute becomes a matter of public record.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How do I participate?You can participate by meeting in person or virtually.
How much does collaborative cost?Cost can vary between lawyers, but most Collaborative cases are substantially less costly than court cases. Most lawyers have a block fee and take a retainer to start the process.
What if my spouse is reluctant about the collaborative process?Provide your spouse with resources that educate about separation, one of the options being the collaborative process. Get your spouse to talk to a collaborative lawyer. Some lawyers offer a 15 minute consultation over the phone to help you decide if the collaborative process is for you. Suggest visiting the www.oacp.co website for additional resources on the collaborative process.