Collaborative family law, also known as CFL, is an alternate dispute resolution process that focuses on interest based negotiations. It is a voluntary process whereby parties resolve their disputes with assistance and guidance from their own collaboratively trained lawyers.
The first benefit of CFL is that it can be significantly more cost efficient and timelier than court. The process allows parties to creatively craft arrangements that best suit their unique needs and familial circumstances. The process also addresses and recognizes the emotional issues that are otherwise not addressed by the legal system. This can minimize frustration and reduce stress.
As if that were not enough, CFL also emphasizes honesty and cooperation, without the threat of litigation. The process fosters a safe space and environment of mutual respect; and everything said and done during the four-way meetings is completely confidential. Having started the process, if parties (individually or jointly) then decide to end it, they are required to hire new lawyers as they cannot use their collaborative lawyers in court. This further promotes cooperation and reconciliation, and discourages adversarial behaviour.
The CFL process also allows parties to include third-party professionals and experts (like financial experts and parenting coordinators) in their negotiations. These professionals work with the lawyers in coaching and assisting the parties; and serve to make the process more effective and efficient.
Additionally, parties that opt to resolve their issues using the CFL process are more likely to maintain a positive relationship post-separation, and this in turn benefits their children.
For additional information on the collaborative process, or for general assistance with your family law matter, please visit our website or call us at (905) 581-7222 to schedule an initial consultation.
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