There has been a shift over recent years to encourage family matters to settle without going to court. This saves the effects parties' time, money and stress as the litigation process can be extremely daunting and expensive. Collaborative family law is a non-adversarial model of resolving disputes. The parties work with lawyers whose focus is to settle matters co-operatively. At the outset of the collaborative family law process, the parties and their lawyers sign a collaborative family law participation agreement. This agreement focuses on treating one another with respect throughout the process and to not initiate court proceedings without written notice of intention to withdraw from the collaborative process. If agreed upon, the parties may use other collaboratively trained professionals such as child specialists and/or counsellors. When the parties are able to reach a settlement, the lawyers work on drafting a separation agreement to reflect their terms.
Collaborative family law takes the uncertainty out of the litigation process as the power of the decision making is in the hands of the spouses and not the court. This aspect greatly reduces the stress and time constraints of the court process which can be time consuming and more expensive for all those involved.