Collaborative Family Law

What Is Collaborative Divorce?

The Collaborative family law process in British Columbia is an alternative to court for resolving the issues and problems that arise when a couple is separating. Each spouse or partner retains a collaboratively-trained lawyer to represent them. Often other professionals such as financial experts, mental health professionals (divorce coach, communications counsellor) and child specialists are brought in as part of the team that works together to facilitate the couple reaching an agreement.

The parties and the lawyers sign a Participation Agreement that sets out the ground rules for the collaborative process, including a term that each party is committed to the process and will not proceed to court. This removes the fear and threat of court from the negotiations. It is so integral to the process that if either party chooses to opt out of the collaborative process and proceed to court, their collaborative lawyer is no longer able to represent them.

The parties and their lawyers will attend 4-way meetings to discuss the issues, exchange financial disclosure (which is mandatory) and provide potential solutions. Once an agreement is reached, a Separation Agreement will be prepared setting out the background information and the terms of settlement. Only once an agreement is reached will a court application be made to obtain a divorce, if necessary.

Why Is The Collaborative Process Better Than Court?

Family Law Staff

  • The focus is on the parties and the family, not the court process.
  • The parties retain control over decisions that need to be made.
  • The parties work together in a non-adversarial manner.
  • The process is less stressful, less disruptive and more respectful.
  • The parties are supported through their stress and uncertainty.
  • Settlement of financial and parenting issues are reached in a fair and equitable manner.
  • The children are protected from the negative effects of divorce and court.
  • More cost-effective, both financially and emotionally.

Get a Case Evaluation

The family lawyers at Peterson Stark Scott are completely committed to the Collaborative family law process where it is appropriate. Contact us at 604-588-9321 or 1-800-555-3288 if you have any questions or want to make an appointment.