Recently, the Family Law Section of the Pennsylvania Bar Association supported the enactment of a Collaborative Law Act in Pennsylvania. This is an important step forward for the collaborative process and demonstrates that legal professionals recognize the growing popularity of collaborative law among the general public. In addition, support from the Family Law section of the PBA reflects other attorneys’ approval of collaborative law as an alternative process to traditional methods of conflict resolution in divorce.
Collaborative law provides a team approach to dispute resolution. When practiced in a divorce situation, each spouse retains a collaboratively-trained attorney. Other professionals often complete the team, including a neutral coach and/or a financial consultant, all of whom have been trained in collaborative law and mediation. Once the team is in place, the parties sign a participation agreement, which lays the foundation for the negotiation process. For example, the agreement requires that each spouse negotiate in good faith, provide all relevant information requested and work diligently and as a team to help the parties reach an agreement. Negotiations and agreements are formulated based on each of the parties’ goals and interests, as well as the choices and options that the parties determine will meet their goals and interests.
The Collaborative Law Professionals of Central PA offers a variety of information and resources on collaborative divorce. The Lancaster Law Blog offers further information on the collaborative process and finding out if it is right for you.
Julie Miller is an attorney at Russell, Krafft & Gruber, LLP in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She received her law degree from Dickinson School of Law and practices in a variety of areas including Collaborative Law and traditional Family Law.