Essential Notes to the Collaborative Approach for Resolving Family Differences What is it? For families, the collaborative approach is different. It’s a private and effective issue resolution process. It’s for those who want to help each other find the best solutions for their family problems. For the immediate concerns and for the long term. Couples starting a new stage in their lives: living together, marrying, separating, or divorcing desire the flexibility the collaborative process offers them. There is no relentless battle of lawyers’ letters, no wasted scheduling, and refreshingly, creative solutions proposed and vetted by those who will be directly affected by them. How is it different? It’s not a cookie cutter process. It‘s a process for partners and spouses to sit together with their own specially trained lawyer and start a discussion. They share dreams, needs and desires at a deeper level and listen to what is shared with them. Communication is open and the sharing of information is genuine and complete. The focus is what needs to be dealt with today and what happens next. Past arguments and disagreements are archived. When difficulties arise, the goal is to tackle the issue without attacking each other. The problem is not ignored and not allowed to fester out of control. Roadblocks happen. Uncomfortable discussions take place. Finding common ground and reorienting the focus are two ways to step thorough a roadblock. The clients run the process: the lawyers don’t. The clients come to a mutual decision on the problems they want answers to. They confirm that full financial disclosure to the other creates a sound financial footing for the final agreement. The lawyers ensure due diligence, encourage a wider range of settlement options, guide understanding of each client’s needs and viewpoints, and offer their experience and knowledge of the standard legal perspective. The products are limited to a Participation Agreement which confirms the commitment of all participants to the process; Progress Notes highlighting decisions made and relevant facts disclosed and all temporary and final contracts confirming the deal. To learn more about the Collaborative Approach please contact Lorisa Stein directly.