What is Collaborative Practice?

Collaborative Practice is an approach to resolving legal matters outside of court. It is an attractive alternative for people who want to retain control over their separation and divorce and resolve differences with their partners with dignity and respect. Collaborative Practice has been available in Canada for about a decade.

What are the benefits of Collaborative Practice?

  • Holistic approach: Collaborative Practice takes into account all key aspects of your situation, not just the legal aspect. After all, separation and divorce are emotionally-charged matters that touch on law, finances and property, child custody and care, health, and family relationships. A holistic approach minimizes the trauma of divorce and helps you build a new life more quickly.
  • Faster resolution: Though not guaranteed, the time to resolution using a Collaborative Practice approach is often shorter than in conventional court settlement. You can control the timelines for exchanging financial information and generating options for settlement.
  • Reduced stress: Most clients find the collaborative approach to be less stressful, more cost-effective and more empowering, resulting in solutions that better reflect family needs.

How does Collaborative Practice work?

  • Team approach: Collaborative lawyers are trained to work as a collaborative team that provides the key expertise for your case. Team members may include, for example, a financial adviser and a family professional, depending on your situation and your family’s needs, values and financial resources.
  • Non-adversarial: In Collaborative Practice, each client retains a collaboratively-trained lawyer and signs a collaborative practice agreement with all collaborative professionals involved in the case. All participants agree to work together ethically and cooperatively and to provide full financial disclosure. If negotiations break down in Collaborative Practice, the professionals must withdraw, and the parties must retain different lawyers to take the matter forward to court.
  • To learn more: You can see how Collaborative Practice really works by viewing these videos:
    Ontario Collaborative Law Federation
    International Academy of Collaborative Professionals

Is Collaborative Practice right for your situation?

Collaborative Practice is an excellent alternative to litigation for clients with a specific profile. If Collaborative Practice is right for you, you will likely agree with many of the following statements.

  • I’m committed to amicable separation and divorce and to giving full dignity and respect to my spouse.
  • I’m willing to work hard to find solutions that work for both of us.
  • Money isn’t the primary driver – I’m most interested in the well-being of my children and in mitigating negative impacts of divorce on all involved.
  • I’m highly motivated to minimize conflict and avoid the emotional and other costs of a court battle.
  • I want to take a holistic approach that takes into account the impact of divorce on my children, finances, health and other factors.

You can retain a collaboratively-trained lawyer even if your spouse does not. In fact, I have successfully negotiated many such cases. Alternately, I can represent you if you decide not to pursue the collaborative approach but still wish to negotiate a fair and reasonable settlement with your spouse.

Is Collaborative Practice right for you?

Call my office at 416 920 9393  ext. 301 or send me an email at ellen@ellennightingale.com to set up your free 30-minute initial consultation.