Collaborative Practice

Divorce and other family law disputes do not have to be adversarial.  Such disputes are best resolved when the parties agree from the outset to do what is best for all concerned and that neither party has to win at the expense of the other.

In Collaborative Practice each party is represented by a collaboratively-trained attorney to assist the parties in reaching a durable acceptable agreement resolving the issues between them.  The attorneys are there to assist the parties in reaching a "win-win" agreement.  Most collaborative cases in this area are multidisciplinary with mental health and financial professionals rounding out the collaborative team.  The mental health professionals act as divorce coaches to assist the parties’ communications and designing a workable parenting plan.  The financial professional acts as a neutral assisting the parties in determining what they have and what they will need in the future and helping to evaluate potential resolutions to determine the one best suited to the family’s needs.

Collaborative Practice is an out-of-court process for resolving disputes which has certain important hallmarks:  (1) The parties agree to not go to Court in any adversarial proceeding.  (2) The parties agree to be transparent with each other and provide, without being asked, any  information that is important to each of them in reaching a decision.  (3) The parties agree to treat each other with respect and to seek outcomes that are mutually beneficial and ultimately result in a durable agreement. (4) The parties agree that everything that happens in the collaborative process will be confidential, especially from any children of the parties.  5) The parties agree that if experts are needed (for example: real estate appraiser, business appraiser, ,) they will share the expert to avoid the high costs the parties would have if they each hired their own expert.

Bruce Avery is a member of the Collaborative Practice Training Institute and is faculty member of the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law where he co-teaches a course in collaborative law.  Bruce Avery, Suzanne Ryan, and Christy Zlatkus make up Avery & Upton’s Collaborative Practice team and are available to help our clients resolve their disputes through the collaborative process.