What Is Collaborative Family Law

Since the 1980s, divorce rates in Canada have steadily increased. Today, the average Canadian marriage lasts 14 years with approximately 38% of all Canadian marriages ending in divorce.

A divorce can become a financially stressful and emotionally exhausting process, especially when both parties have a “winning” mindset. When a divorce is taken to court, it can extend the separation process, increase costs, and be a strain on an already fragile relationship. However, if you and your partner are willing to cooperate, a divorce can be a smooth process.

For those interested in a more amicable separation, a Collaborative Divorce may be the right option for you.

What is a Collaborative Divorce?

In 1990, Stu Webb, a senior divorce lawyer from Minneapolis introduced Collaborative Family Law into the legal system. Over time this new way of settling a divorcing couple outside of the courtroom spread across into Canada.

In a Collaborative Divorce, everyone works together to reach a mutually acceptable agreement that is out of the courtroom. Collaborative Professionals, also known as Collaborative Lawyers, will represent each party involved and ensures the separation process is fair for everyone. Your Collaborative Lawyer will work with you and your partner to help reduce conflict and resolve issues until a settlement is reached.

The Collaborative Divorce Alberta Association states on their website that before a Collaborative Divorce process can take place, all parties involved including your lawyers must promise three items in writing:

  1. Voluntarily disclose all financial and other relevant information.
  2. Proceed respectfully and in good faith as you negotiate toward a settlement
  3. Refrain from using, or threatening to use, the court litigation process.

What are the Benefits of a Collaborative Divorce?

First introduced as a more cordial alternative to resolving family disputes out of the courtroom, Collaborative Family Law has many benefits. There is no denying that a divorce can be hard for everyone, especially when children are involved. Many statistics show the adverse physiological and emotional effects divorces can have on kids – particularly drawn-out battles in the courtroom. For many parents, minimizing the impact of the divorce on their children is a big priority. If you feel the marriage isn’t working, and you believe the separation can be done civilly, choosing to have a collaborative divorce is a great option.

Another reason for selecting a Collaborative Divorce is the cost. Divorces, where you have to go to court, can become very expensive. Custody battles may draw out the legal process, adding additional fees and potentially becoming a more substantial financial burden to those involved. However, when both parties work together to end their marriage outside of the courtroom, the divorce process can be faster and more affordable.

If you are interested in learning more about Collaborative Family Law in Alberta or think this might be the right option for you, give our team at McGuiness Law a call at (780) 900-7941.