"Collaborative law" is a new method of resolving disputes by involving lawyers, but without litigation. The central premise of the collaborative approach is that each party's lawyer is hired for negotiation purposes only. The attorneys agree that they may not represent the parties if negotiations fail and litigation is required.
The lawyers and the parties are thus devoted to working the matter out by agreement, without the looming specter of litigation threatening to undermine the process. Together, the lawyers and clients gather information needed to work through divorce issues. If outside experts are needed, the parties retain one expert, instead of hiring competing experts.
The collaborative approach has one great advantage over the mediation approach. Mediators must retain perfect neutrality. As such, they cannot advise the parties about the law, tax and financial matters, or the consequences of various negotiating positions lawyers can.
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