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FREOUENTLY ASKED OUESTIONS ABOUT COLLABORATIVE What is collaborative law?

LAW

Collaborativelaw is a processdesigned to resolveconflicts using interest-based negotiations. Both parties are represented by attorneyswho have beentrained in the collaborative process. The only goal for both the parties and the attorneysis to reach an agreementthat satisfiesboth parties' needsand interests. In collaborative law, the parties and their attorneysagreeto resolve the conflict without going to court, which keepsthe parties in complete control of their own end result. How is collaborative law different from litigation? One of the basic ideasbehind the collaborativeprocessis to keep the parties in control and everybody involved agreesto resolve the conflict without going to court. Litigation is based on preparing for court, presentingevidenceto the court, arguing each side of the caseto the court, having the court decide the caseand then deciding whether to appealthe court's decision to a higher court. In litigation, the parties hand control of the caseover to their attorneysand the court system. How is collaborative law different from mediation? Collaborative law involves a seriesof four-party conferences with both parties and their attorneysto discussthe issuesspecified as important by the parties. The attorneyshelp to guide the discussion,model and teach communicationtechniquesand give legal advice to their clients. In mediation, the individuals meet with a neutral third person(the mediator) who has specialized training in conflict resolution, who facilitates a discussionbetweenthe parties with the goal of having them resolve their conflict. Although the mediator may be an attorney, he or she does not representeither party and doesnot give legal advice. The parties are usually represented by attorneys outside the mediation processwho give them legal advice. The parties' attorneysare usually not involved in the actualmediationsessions. What are the benefits of the collaborative process? The collaborative processallows the individuals to control their own destiny and allows them to retain the decision-making authority regardingtheir lives insteadof putting decisionsin the hands of the court. It helps individuals communicatewith each other and focuseson both in a court battle. The parties' needsand interestsinsteadof making the parties adversaries parties and their attorneyswork together (collaborate)to addressthe issuesthat are important to financialneedsand parentingconcerns. the partiesin resolvingtheir divorce,propertyissues, by an attorney to participatein collaborative law? Am I required to be represented by an attorney with specific training in collaborative law. Yes, you need to be represented modeled and conflict resolutiontechniques The communicationskills, problem solving strategies and taught by the attorneysin collaborative law are a result of specific training and are extremely

valuable to making the collaborative processsuccessful. Very few individuals are able to use the communication skills that are so uitical to the collaborativeprocesswithout specific training and are not preparedto adequatelyparticipate in the collaborativeprocesswithout being represented by * attorney. Can I chooseany attorney I would like to representme in collaborative law? The attorneysinvolved in the collaborativeprocesshave extensivetraining in the collaborative law process. Many of the collaborative law attorneyshave additional training as mediators. To participate in the collaborative law processyou must be represented by an attorney who has collaborative law training. Information about attorneyswho are trained in collaborativelaw in the centralPennsylvania areais availableat www.collaborativelLwpa.corn, which is the website for the IndependentCollaborative Attorneys of Central Pennsylvania. What issuescan we addressthroueh collaborative law? You can addressany and ul, ,rr,r", that are of concernto you in collaborative law. In general, individuals generally addresshow they will accomplishtheir divorce or separation, division of property, implementation of the terms of prenuptial agreements, financial and income issuesand co-parentingafter a separationor divorce. Anything that is of concern to you can be addressed in collaborative law. Sincethe individuals who are involved in the processdetermine what they will address,you remain in complete control of the subjectmatter for the four-party conferences. Do attorneyschargelessfor collaborativelaw cases? Most attorneyschargean hourly rate and require a retainer when they begin their representation. They generally chargetheir usual hourly rate for collaborative law cases,but the overall cost of resolving a collaborative casefrom beginning to end is frequently much less than the cost of litigating a case. The attorneysuse their time and your money working together with the parties to reach a successfulresolution insteadof constantly fighting little battles betweenthe parties that don't really advancethe situation toward resolution. What if the other person doesn't want to participate in a collaborative law approach? It takes two to tango. Both parties and their attorneysmust be committed to resolving their conflict through the collaborative process. If one of the parties is reluctant to engagein the collaborative approach,both parties will needto find a different way to addresstheir conflict. What happensif we don't reach an agreement? If you don't reach an agreementthrough the collaborative process,you can continue working toward an agreementthrough direct negotiation or mediation or decide to litigate through the court system. If you do not reachan agreementand leave the collaborative process, both parties must retain new attomeys. Attorneys in the collaborativeprocessare bound by their

agreementnot to representthe parties in litigation if there is no agreementreachedin collaboration. How long doesthe collaborativelaw process take? The collaborative processis generally fasterthan litigation, since the court processcan take years. The collaborative four-party conferences are scheduledby agreementof the parties and their attorneys,usually about three weeks apart. There are typically at least four conferences,although the number of conferences dependson the number of issuesthe parties need to addressand the pace at which they are preparedto deal with them. Is the collaborativelaw processlessexpensive than othermethods? The biggest factor in determining how much a divorce costsis the amount of time the attorneys spendworking on the case. The court filing fees and other fixed costs are the same process regardless of how the divorce is handled. Sincethe collaborative is generallyfasterthan litigation and often requires the attorneysto spendlesstime, it is usually less expensivethan litigation. Of course,if the parties are able to sit down privately and reach an overall agreement that they then submit to their attorneysto have the required legal documentsprepared,that processwould most likely be lessexpensive than the collaborative law process. What happensif we need other individuals involved in the collaborative law process? Individuals sometimesneed expert assistance in accounting,financial planning, parenting or another area during the collaborative law process. In that case,the parties must decide whether to seekthe advice of an expert, who to contact,the extent of their involvement and how the expert will be compensated.The attorneyscan usually make recommendations regarding experts with whom they have worked in the past. The expertscan have as much or as little involvement in the collaborative law processas the parties decide. Can't we just sit down and reach an agreementwithout having attorneysinvolved? discussionand resolve Some individuals are able to sit down together,have a reasonable their differences without the assistance of attorneys,but that is the exception insteadof the rule. If that works, the parties should still retain attorneysin a limited capacity to preparethe legal documentsand review the terms of the agreementto make surethe parties understandthe to communicate consequences of their agreement. Most individuals need some assistance is role of their collaborative attorney. and reach a fair resolution, which the effectively

FREOUENTLY ASKED OUESTIONSABOUT MEDIATION Whatis mediation?


of a neutral third Mediation is negotiating the resolution of a conflict with the assistance party (the mediator) who facilitates the negotiation process. Mediation is conductedthrough a

seriesof informal meeting betweenthe parties and the mediator to addressthe issuesthe parties agreeare important to them. How is mediation different from litigation? Litigation is basedon the parties acting as adversaries, fighting againsteach other to convince the court to accepttheir individual position regardingthe conflict as the correct outcome. Mediation involves the parties negotiatingtheir own agreementandjointly resolving their conflict with the help of the mediator. In mediation, the parties maintain control of the outcomeand nobody elsecan force them to accepta decisionagainsttheir will. How is mediation different from collaborative law? Mediation and collaborative law both involve a seriesof meetingswith the goal of resolving the conflict betweenthe parties. In collaborative law, the parties and their attorneys are involved in the four-party conferences with the attorneysrepresentingtheir clients and facilitating the negotiationsbetweenthe parties. In mediation, the parties generally meet with only the mediator presentand the attorneysare avaiiable outsidethe mediation sessions to offer the parties legal advice and to finalize the parties' written agreement. What are the benefits of mediation? Mediation can be less stressful, lesstime-consuming and lesscostly than litigation. Mediation can also have lasting effects on how the parties communicateand interact with each other after the mediation processends,which is particularly important when the parties have children together and will needto continue to interact as they co-parenttheir children. Mediation allows the parties to maintain control of their own decision-makinginsteadof putting their lives in the hands of the court. Individuals are much more likely to be satisfiedwith the outcome of mediationas opposedto litigation. Am I required to be represented by an attorney to participate in mediation? No, you are not required to be represented by attorney to participate in mediation. However, you should have an attorney to give you legal advice and to make sure the resulting agreementis legal and enforceable. The mediator is a neutral person,so he or she does not representeither party and will not give advice to either party. Can I chooseany attorney I would like to representme in mediation? Your choiceof attorneyis your decisionin mediation. What issuescan we addressthroush mediation? In mediation,you can address any issuethat both partiesagreeneedsto be resolved. Frequent issuesaddressed in mediation are divorce or separation,dividing property, financial

support and child custody and co-parentingdecisions. Individuals and businesses can also use mediation to resolve conflicts outsidethe familv law arena. Do attomeyschargeless for mediationcases? It dependson the attorney. Most attorneyschargetheir usual hourly rate for work performed,regardless of which process the partieschoose. However,the mediationprocesscan substantially reduce the number of hours attorneysneedto spendworking on individual cases, which meansthat mediation can reducethe overall cost of attorneys' fees. In mediation, the parties usually spendmore time meeting togetherwith the mediator than they do meeting with or speakingwith their attorneys. What if the other person doesn't want to participate in mediation? Mediation requires voluntary participation by both individuals. If one party refusesto participate in mediation, it is not an option. There are certain provisions in the law that require parties to attend at least one mediation sessionprior to having a court hearing, but those instancesare the exception and not the rule. What happensif we don't reach an agreement? Although the majority of people who participate in mediation reachmutually acceptable agreements, there are times when the conflict is not resolved. In thosecases, the partiesmust chooseanotherprocessto address the issues.They could try direct negotiationbetweenthe two of them, collaborative law or litigation. Even if the parties don't reach an overall agreementin mediation, they may reach agreementon some issuesand may also narrow the scopeof their conflict to make it easierto resolve through anothermethod. They may also leam somenew communicationtechniques even if they don't reachan overall resolutionof their conflicts. Does mediation take lonser than other methods? Mediation is usually a time-efficientmethodof resolvingconflict. It generallytakes much longer to litigate a dispute through the court systemthan to resolve it through mediation. can be quicker than mediation, Sitting down together without the formality of mediation sessions but few people are able to effectively resolvetheir issuesin that way. The mediation process with a few weeks betweeneach session,which allows the usually involves severalsessions parties to take whatever actions are necessary to be ready for the next session. betweensessions What happensif we need other individuals involved in the mediation? of professionals during the mediationprocess. Partiessometimes needthe assistance They may include financial experts,mental health expertsor co-parentingexperts,just to name a few. The parties decidejointly as part of the mediation processwhether they need experts or and all other individuals involved, the extent of their involvement, how they will be compensated other specifics.

Can't we just sit down and reach an agreementwithout having attorneysinvolved? Some individuals are able to sit down togetherand resolve their conflict privately without the formality of the mediation processand without the assistance of a neutral third person. people However, the majority of benefit from the assistance of a mediator by learning more effective communication techniques. Even if parties work out the terms of their own agreement without meeting with a mediator, they should have attorneyspreparethe written agreement languageand both parties should have advice from separate attorneysregarding the terms of the agreement.