Negotiation takes place when each person retains a lawyer who works toward a settlement for his or her client. The lawyers gather financial information and advise their clients on the legal issues involved. Often four-way meetings are conducted during which the spouses and their lawyers work toward the final agreement.
In the Collaborative Family Law process the spouses work with their lawyers to avoid the uncertain outcome of Court, and to achieve the best settlement that meets their needs and the needs of their children. The spouses sign an agreement to continue working toward a final agreement and to refrain from commencing a Court action. If they must bring the matter to Court, they will leave the collaborative process and retain litigation counsel.
Court Actions are necessary when no agreements can be reached, The spouses ask a Judge to rule on the issues based on the evidence that is presented in the formal Court setting.
The viewpoints of separating spouses usually differ on one or more of the issues. There are several ways for them to resolve their disagreements:
Mediation is a process during which one neutral professional assists the spouses to reach their own settlement. The agreements they reach during mediation are the basis for a final agreement. Each spouse requires independent legal advice from a lawyer who will represent only one person's interests.