The role of the Collaborative Divorce Attorney includes fully protecting the client’s interests while adhering to the principles of fair negotiations in an alternative dispute resolution process. A Collaborative Attorney, in concert with all the participants in a collaborative divorce process, agrees to make full disclosure of relevant information to ensure fair negotiations. This departure from the traditional role of zealously guarding only the client’s direct interests is arranged through the Collaborative Agreement to create an atmosphere where parties are able to come together on issues while feeling supported, informed and empowered to make decisions that will positively affect their future and the future of their family. By agreement of the parties, including the attorney’s client, the Collaborative Divorce Lawyer acts not only as an advocate, but also as a resource, an educator, and a protector of the collaborative process.
A Collaborative Divorce Attorney will be by your side throughout the entire process of reaching a comprehensive and fair agreement with your spouse. Your attorney will provide legal advice helping you to determine what your rights and responsibilities are and what laws apply to your situation. They will also advise you on the benefits and drawbacks of all settlement proposals to help you be comfortable in knowing you are making informed decisions. When needed, your attorney will be able to assist you in advocating and communicating your interests to ensure they are fully considered. In short, your Collaborative Lawyer is not only your guide throughout this complicated process but is there to protect your rights and interests and to ensure your agreement meets your needs, while also keeping everyone focused on the common goal of a fair and equitable agreement.
A Collaborative Divorce Attorney is an advocate for their client within a collaborative dispute resolution setting. By contrast, a Mediator is by definition a “neutral” within the Mediation process, which is a different type of dispute resolution than the Collaborative Divorce process. A Mediator’s role is to act as a guide and to help develop options for parties to consider as they work toward mutual agreement on the terms of an agreement. A Mediator cannot represent, provide legal advice to, or advocate for, either party. A Mediator will not advise parties as to what is fair and reasonable under the circumstances, or define the benefits and drawbacks as they relate to each party, as doing so could jeopardize their neutrality.
Robyn R. Klaskin, Attorney, is a Founding Member of DSC. Her practice is dedicated to guiding people through divorce and difficult family conflicts with privacy, respect and civility, to achieve the best result for the children and the family.
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