February 2, 2012
ADR Presents Collaborative Law
The ADR community is familiar with divorce mediation. How many within the community are familiar with collaborative law or collaborative divorce, as some call it?
Collaborative law was developed in the 1980s by Stuart Webb, a Minnesota attorney, as an alternative to using litigation in divorce proceedings. Steven Keeva in the American Bar Association Journal Book, Transforming Practices, Finding Joy and Satisfaction in the Legal Life, describes collaborative law as a blending of the principles of mediation with what is called four-way meetings to solve a problem. In collaborative law, attorneys represent parties seeking a divorce, not by litigation, but by helping the parties dissolve the marriage.
For some, the litigation process can foster animosity and battling instead of problem solving. Collaborative law makes the client a partner in the case. According to practitioners of collaborative law, people who are able to resolve their own divorce without court intervention are generally more committed to the settlement and will follow the settlement.
Economic forces are causing people to seek out different alternatives to divorce that do not involve litigation. In Ohio, the Collaborative Law Act has been drafted that will make collaborative divorce a statutorily recognized process.
Although collaborative law was initially developed as an alternative to litigation in divorce matters, it can also be used to resolve civil disputes.
At the February 10 meeting of the ADR Committee, Bobbie O'Keefe, Carlile Patchen & Murphy, and Scott Haynes, Blaugrund Herbert, will discuss the collaborative process in divorce cases and how it differs from other ADR processes; how to start or to change your practice to a collaborative family law; and the Collaborative Law Act. The meeting will be held from noon to 1:00pm, open to all members.