What is the Difference Between Collaborative Practice and Traditional Litigation/Going to Court?
In traditional, adversarial litigation, one person files legal papers with the court complaining of the other person’s past behavior, and sets in motion a series of legal steps that dictate the process and progress of the case. This process may eventually result in a settlement, or if that fails, the clients then proceed to a trial and their issues are resolved by a judge.
Unfortunately, people in litigation often view each other as adversaries, adopting extreme, black and white positions: they may focus primarily on getting the most for themselves, disregarding the needs and interest of the “other side,” and how failing to satisfy those needs and interests may impact their children. The courts have a restricted range of options for resolving the financial and custodial issues, and may take more of a “one size fits all” approach to the outcome than is likely in the collaborative process.
Going to court is often the costliest process, both emotionally and financially, and can be especially destructive for the children involved. Such cases can easily drag on for many years.
Collaborative Practice, by definition, is non-adversarial. The clients—their lawyers and other professionals—pledge in writing not to go to court.
- They negotiate in good faith and achieve a mutually-agreed upon settlement outside of court, one that addresses all participants and the children’s needs and interests.
- Participants are free to brain-storm and make concessions, leading to more creative solutions that are tailored to the needs of the individuals and the family.
- Because of the confidential nature of the collaborative process, no one has to worry that what s/he says can or will be used against him/her in court.
- The cooperative nature of Collaborative Practice can greatly ease the emotional strain caused by the breakup of a relationship and promote the well-being of children.
- Collaborative Practice is also much more likely to lead to a result where each person maintains respect and care for each other, which is important, especially if there are children involved.
Collaborative Practice is also uniquely helpful for same-sex couples and domestic partners, whether or not they have children in common. Since the current law in Florida does not recognize same-sex marriages/domestic partnerships, there are few options available when these relationships break down.
For more information call one of the Participating Collaborative Professionals of mycollaborativeteam now.