Did you know that Collaborative Law is more than just a theory or approach to practice? Collaborative Law involves a certification which comes after completing specific training in this area of family law.
Most - if not all - states have some sort of governing body or organization that conducts the training and certification of your Collaborative divorce professional. If you are not certain about the qualifications of the professional you are working with in Colorado, a great resource to help you evaluate is the Colorado Collaborative Divorce Professionals website.
Colorado does not have a law that defines the Collaborative Law process or procedures. However, in the past decade, a number of states have enacted versions of the Collaborative Law Act, with the most recent law enacted in Illinois. Since 2009, Alabama, Arizona, District of Columbia, Michigan, Ohio and Texas have enacted versions of this law. The goal of the law is to standardize the most important components of the Collaborative Law Process.
Why is this important?
A uniform approach to Collaborative Law is helpful to the legal consumer. Some professionals may claim to work "collaboratively" or offer "collaborative divorce" but they may not have been trained or certified by their local Collaborative Law organization. In addition, some professionals may not be following appropriate Collaborative Law procedures and processes.
There are a number of distinctions between "traditional" family law practice and collaborative law practice.
- Both parties agree to use collaboratively trained attorneys
- Both parties sign an agreement in which they will seek the mutually best outcomes for themselves and their children
- The parties may agree to work with a child specialist to resolve parenting issues and will make decisions based upon sound child development practices
- The parties may elect to use a joint financial expert to assist them with financial disclosures, business or practice valuations and the development of economically sound financial resolutions
- The parties may elect to use a collaborative divorce facilitator to keep the process running smoothly and to hold both parties and attorneys accountable.
The great majority of family law professionals want to work cooperatively and collaborate on resolving differences in divorce. However, the Collaborative Law process is a very specific form of alternative dispute resolution. Ask your divorce professional questions to insure you both understand the process and that they are qualified to offer insight into Collaborative Law.