Any attorney can hold themselves out as practicing Collaborative Divorce. There are currently no licensing standards or certifications for such a practice. It is best to work with an attorney who is a member of one of the professional collaborative groups (IACP or NYACP). They all require some level of basic training and continuing advanced training. Therefore it is recommended you choose an attorney who belongs to the IACP and has gone through additional training and education in the field of Collaborative divorce.
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NO. Only Attorneys who have had special training in the Collaborative method should practice Collaborative Law. This training is provided by a variety of groups. An organization such as the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP) has stringent requirements for its professional members to help you pick an attorney with the appropriate credentials. I am a member of the IACP, as well as the New York Association of Collaborative Professionals (NYACP). My IACP professional profile sets forth all my training.
The family benefits the most.
Almost always less. Since most of your attorneys time in a Collaborative Divorce is spent in these four-way conferences, instead of waiting in court, or producing massive amounts of papers work in response to motion papers served by the other side, or sending correspondence back and forth between the attorneys and clients, the reduction in cost is substantial. The process is also designed to enhance communication and encourages you and your spouse to discuss you needs and concerns, allowing for fewer misunderstandings.
In New York only a court can dissolve your marriage. The process leading up to the trial and the trial itself (litigation), working out the issues of property settlement, custody and support are time consuming, complicated and expensive. In the Collaborative Process, instead of going to court, the two clients and their attorneys sit down in a series of highly structured conferences designed to help you resolve all the issues. This eliminates the need for subpoenas, affidavits, court appearances, trial conferences and trial schedules. The clients have the freedom to work at a pace that suits them and their budget. In litigation, each side takes a position and battles each other to the end, or until the money runs out. In Collaborative Law, the two clients AND their two attorneys work together (collaborate) to find the best resolution for that family, taking into account everyone’s need and concerns. All four participants sign a Participation Agreement agreeing to the ground rules of the process which are designed to create an atmosphere where such resolutions are not only possible, but highly probable. The attorneys agree that if this process does not work and the clients resort to litigation, these attorneys CANNOT represent these people in the litigation. For the first time, the attorney has a vested interest in helping you create a workable agreement. If he, or she, does not, then they lose a client!
IT IS NOT MEDIATION! It is a process that allows you to resolve important divorce issues respectfully, while being represented by an attorney, and transforms how conflicts are resolved