Collaborative Practice is a voluntary process in which separating spouses (both married and common law) settle the issues arising from their relationship or marriage, without resorting to Family Court.
One of the hallmarks of Collaborative Practice is the ability to negotiate a final agreement without the need for judicial intervention and in a manner that is respectful, honest and customized to the needs of your particular family. The aim of Collaborative Practice is to preserve the family unit by developing constructive relationships post-separation. Most parties that come from Collaborative Practice, walk away with an agreement that they are confident and happy about, resulting in fewer issues in the long term.
Although the breakdown of a relationship is painful, it doesn’t have to be contentious. You and your spouse can agree to settle key matters like child custody, support, and property division without court intervention.
When two spouses decide to separate or divorce in Ontario, collaborative family law offers a constructive alternative to litigation. This form of dispute resolution, based on honesty and mutual respect, requires both parties to work with each other, their lawyers, and third-party experts to resolve all issues stemming from the end of the relationship.
At Galbraith Family Law, all of our lawyers are trained in the collaborative process and can help you avoid the excessive financial, emotional, and psychological costs associated with divorce. Your Toronto divorce lawyer will seek your rights as you resolve all issues based on your situation, needs, and goals. To learn more about Toronto collaborative family law, please call 866-271-0955.
Why Choose Galbraith Family Law for Your Collaborative Family Law Needs?
At Galbraith Family Law, we care about your family’s future. Not only do we want to help you get through your separation or divorce as quickly and cost-effectively as possible, but we welcome the chance to help you and your spouse develop the co-parenting relationship that your children deserve.
The aim of collaborative practice is to preserve the family unit by developing constructive relationships post-separation. As collaborative family lawyers, we are trained to facilitate communication between you and your spouse and to help you understand each other’s perspectives. This emphasis on communication and understanding can help to build a stronger relationship between you both, which can be particularly beneficial when co-parenting.
What Are the Benefits of Toronto Collaborative Family Law?
Collaborative family law makes it easier to reach an agreement that is in the best interest of the whole family. Here are some of the benefits of choosing the collaborative approach to dispute resolution:
- Reduces Conflict: Collaborative family law encourages cooperation between the parties, which reduces conflict and hostility. This process is particularly beneficial when children are involved, as it helps to shield them from the negative effects of a contentious divorce.
- Emphasizes Communication: Collaborative family law in Ontario is a private process, meaning that sensitive information is not disclosed to the public. This can be particularly important when dealing with financial issues, as it helps to protect the parties’ privacy.
- Control Over the Outcome: In a collaborative family law process, the parties are empowered to create a solution that works for their unique situation. This contrasts with a court decision, where the outcome is determined by a judge who may not fully understand the family’s needs.
- Cost-Effective: This approach is generally more cost-effective than traditional litigation. Since the parties work together, the process is typically quicker and involves fewer court appearances, which translates to lower legal fees.
The Toronto Collaborative Family Law Process- an Overview
Collaborative family law is a voluntary process where both parties work together, with the assistance of their lawyers, to reach a mutually acceptable settlement. The collaborative approach in Ontario typically follows these steps:
- Choosing a Collaborative Family Lawyer: Both parties choose their own lawyer who is trained in the collaborative process. The lawyers are responsible for guiding their clients through the process and providing legal advice and support.
- Signing an Agreement: Both parties and their lawyers sign a collaborative participation agreement that outlines the rules and principles of the collaborative process, including a commitment to work together in good faith, to be open and honest, and to keep the process confidential.
- Retaining Family and Financial Professionals: The spouses jointly retain a family professional to assist them with communicating and resolving parenting issues. They also retain a financial professional to assist them in working through all financial matters (e.g., child and spousal support calculations and property issues) and, if needed, to determine their respective financial outlooks post-divorce.
- Identifying the Issues: The parties and their lawyers identify the issues that need to be resolved, such as custody, child support, spousal support, and property division. They then gather information and exchange documents to help them understand the overall picture.
- Negotiating a Settlement: Everyone works together to negotiate a settlement that meets the needs and interests of both parties and their children. This may involve several meetings where the participants discuss and exchange proposals.
- Reviewing and finalizing the Settlement: Once a settlement has been reached, the lawyers draft the necessary legal documents to formalize the agreement. The parties review and sign the documents, and the agreement is filed with the court.
Throughout the collaborative process, the parties and their lawyers work to avoid going to court. However, if a settlement cannot be reached through the collaborative process, the parties may need to seek other options, such as mediation or litigation.
Collaborative Practice provides you and your spouse/partner with the support, advocacy and guidance of your own lawyers without having to go to Court. Additionally, Collaborative Practice allows you the benefit of the Family and Financial Professional who are working together with you on your team to cost-effectively resolve all of your issues.
In Collaborative Practice, the core elements of your commitments are that:
- You will negotiate a mutually acceptable resolution without having the Court decide issues for you;
- You will maintain open communication and information sharing; and,
- You will create shared solutions acknowledging the highest priorities of all.
Collaborative Practice is appreciated by clients worldwide because:
- It is a confidential process;
- You and your spouse have an influence in the timing of the steps in the process;
- You and your spouse maintain control of the decisions being made; and,
It usually results in settlement faster and in a more cost-effective manner than the judicial process.
Even if you are not able to discuss issues with your spouse/partner or your issues are complex, including cases of domestic violence or power imbalances, Collaborative Practice is an efficient and effective process that will result in you resolving your matters without the need to resort to the Court system. It is being used effectively around the world and many judges are referring parties out of their courtroom to take advantage of the Collaborative Process.
Simply put, Collaborative Practice works, even in the toughest cases. We can help you.
Does a Collaborative Family Lawyer in Toronto Receive Special Training?
Yes, Ontario collaborative family lawyers must receive specialized training in collaborative family law to become certified collaborative family law practitioners.
The training is designed to teach lawyers the skills and knowledge necessary to work collaboratively with clients and other professionals, such as mental health professionals and financial experts, to help families resolve their disputes in a respectful, non-adversarial manner.
In addition to the initial training, collaborative family lawyers in Ontario must participate in ongoing professional development and adhere to the applicable standards and guidelines. This helps to ensure that they remain up-to-date on best practices and continue to provide high-quality collaborative family law services to their clients.
Is Collaborative Family Law for Everyone?
The practice of collaborative family law is not suitable for everyone who is separating or divorcing. For example, if a marriage breaks down due to adultery or abuse, it may be very difficult for the parties to sit down and work collaboratively on solutions. In these situations, there are often feelings of animosity, fear, or hostility between the two parties, which runs counter to the principles of collaborative law.
Collaborative family law may not be the right choice if you do not trust your spouse to be honest and cooperative. Your Toronto divorce lawyer at Galbraith Family Law will recommend the right option for the unique dynamics of your relationship.
Questions? Speak to a Collaborative Family Lawyer in Toronto
Divorce and separation can be a beginning as well as an ending. A collaborative approach to family law makes your children's future a top priority while helping you and your spouse enjoy a smoother transition to the next stage of your lives.
At Galbraith Family Law, we always approach separation and divorce from a compassionate and empathetic angle. We believe the collaborative approach is ideal for families looking for long-term solutions to their issues and seeking to minimize the impact of separation on their children. To learn more about collaborative family law, please call 866-271-0955 or contact us online. We also serve clients in and around Barrie, Newmarket, Oakville, and North York.