Collaborative Divorce in BC – A Healthier Approach to Divorce

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What is Collaborative Law or Collaborative Divorce?

Collaborative Law or Collaborative Divorce is a process by which parties and their respective lawyers sign an agreement, a “Participation Agreement,” to negotiate a peaceful and equitable resolution of the issues relating to the termination of their relationship without going to court. The parties and lawyers agree to work together in a transparent manner to reach a settlement that best meets the respective party’s needs and interests. Other professionals can also be brought in to provide assistance such as counsellors, divorce coaches, child specialists and financial experts. Should a settlement not be reached then the lawyers resign and they are prohibited from representing any party in any future family litigation.

What is the Collaborative Law or Collaborative Divorce Process?

  1. You retain a lawyer practicing Collaborative Divorce.
  2. You meet with your Collaborative Law lawyer to discuss the Collaborative process, to answer any questions you may have, address any concerns you may have and to review the Participation Agreement.
  3. A four-way meeting will be arranged between the parties and their respective Collaborative Law lawyers to sign the Participation Agreement and to deal with pressing or immediate issues. The Participation Agreement will be signed by all parties including their respective Collaborative Law lawyers. The Participation Agreement  will include provisions to be transparent, to work together in a cooperative and respectful manner, to provide full disclosure of financial information,  to act in the best interests of their children, to agree to have third party experts join the process if needed, to agree that during the Collaborative Law process no party shall go to court or threaten to go to court, and if the collaborative process breaks down then the Collaborative Law lawyers must resign and withdraw from acting for their respective client.
  4. A series of four-way meetings will be scheduled, which will include the parties and their Collaborative Law lawyers. At these meetings everyone is to work diligently to find an agreeable resolution of the issues in dispute between the parties. Also, in between these meetings the parties may be required to gather certain information or documents as may be requested.
  5. Once an agreement has been reached between the parties one of the Collaborative Law lawyers will draft the Separation Agreement. Should a resolution not take place then the Collaborative process terminates and the Collaborative Law lawyers will resign and the parties continue with their dispute in the courts.

What are the Advantages of a Collaborative Law or a Collaborative Divorce?

  • Collaborative Divorce can be less expensive compared to litigating in court.
  • Lawyers retained in Collaborative Divorce have an incentive to help the parties come up with a resolution as they are prohibited from representing any of the parties in family litigation.
  • Collaborative Divorce process often may involve other professionals such as counsellors, divorce coaches, child specialists and financial experts in a team approach to meeting the parties’ needs and interests.
  • Collaborative Divorce emphasizes the needs of the children.
  •  Collaborative Divorce is faster than the lengthy court process.
  • With Collaborative Divorce you participate in the resolution of your dispute as opposed to having a judge impose a decision for you.
  • People are more inclined to adhere to the agreement or resolution achieved through Collaborative Divorce than from the decision of a judge.
  • Collaborative Divorce is a confidential process between the parties, it does not form part of the public record like a court application.
  • The Collaborative Divorce process is less adversarial without the win or loss at court, which leads to a greater chance of preserving relationships.

What are the costs of Collaborative Law or Collaborative Divorce?

Our hourly rate for Collaborative Law or Collaborative Divorce is $295 per hour plus applicable taxes. We do not charge for such things as photocopying, faxing, secretarial services, and long distance telephone calls, which can save you hundreds of dollars.

Why use M.J. O’Nions for my Collaborative Divorce?

We have the expertise to help you in Family Mediation, Collaborative Law, drafting your Separation Agreement, and filing and preparing your divorce application. We will do this in a cost effective manner while providing high quality professional service. We understand how this is a very difficult time for you. We are here to help. Just give us a call at 604-449-7779 for a free 10 minute telephone consultation so we can be of assistance.

How do I Start the Collaborative Law or Collaborative Divorce Process?

Fill out the general intake form and a lawyer will call you within 24 hours to setup an appointment, or you can call us directly at 604-449-7779.

For more information, see our blog on The Collaborative Law Process, and The Importance of the Financial Advisor in the Collaborative Divorce Process.

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