What Is Collaborative Law?

Generally speaking, collaborative law is a form of alternative dispute resolution, and is a relatively new way of protecting legal clients’ needs. Instead of fighting a battle in a courtroom, two parties agree not to litigate, and instead allow their lawyers to serve as advocate partners. Its success in resolving conflicts in the areas of probate and business disputes (to name a few) encouraged family law attorneys to attempt the same process in lieu of a lengthy and costly court battle.

How a collaborative divorce differs from a traditional dissolution

Until a few years ago, getting a divorce in Tennessee equated to litigation: you and your attorney went to court to fight for your assets, your right to support, custody of your children, and so on. It often made a difficult time even more uncomfortable and stressful for all parties involved.

The need for a non-litigious solution came in the form of collaborative divorce. Like mediation, it seeks a more amicable and logical resolution to both spouses’ needs, and is performed by trained Tennessee divorce attorneys outside of the courtroom. However, though mediation may sometimes fail to keep a family law dispute out of court, in collaborative divorce both parties agree not to litigate at all.

The process is simple to understand, though nuanced in its practice. Party A and Party B are each represented by an attorney. All four people work together to create the marriage dissolution agreement by fully disclosing all debts and assets, and negotiate to reach a fair and equitable distribution of time and support for any children. When Party A and Party B have reached a conclusion they’re both happy with, the attorneys file the paperwork with the court.

It is important to note, however, that collaborative divorce is still uncommon in Tennessee; therefore, though it may seem like a good idea to attempt to collaborate on your own without an attorney, doing so can actually cause irreparable harm to you, your spouse and your children. Going through a divorce still requires an in-depth understanding of the family law statutes in Tennessee, and an experienced attorney should be by your side. However, even with an attorney collaborative divorce can save you both time and money (as mediation does), and can help you and your spouse feel less stressed about the dissolution process.