What Is The Process Of Collaborative Negotiation?
The roles of the attorneys are very important to the process and are carefully defined and limited. The attorneys act to encourage and explore the entire range of settlement options and alternatives. The attorneys exchange information, research and ideas and commit themselves (and the clients) to resolving the issues.
It is very likely that the first meeting will be spent collecting information from each party, their positions and desires. The attorneys will then review the information to seek out possible solutions and explore the entire range of settlement options and alternatives. It is at this point that it is very important that you have chosen a qualified attorney, usually someone with specialization in family law, so that he or she may best analyze all options available to you and your spouse, including considering all tax ramifications of any agreement you may enter into.
After all of the information has been gathered and reviewed, negotiations can then begin. It is important that all of the information has been gathered and looked at so that any practical proposals for settlement can be considered. It would not be a good idea to agree to divide a 401(k) plan if there is no idea as to its value and what the potential tax consequences may be. It may even be necessary to seek outside assistance from a CPA, actuary, or real estate appraiser.
It is at this stage that it is imperative that each party and their attorneys take a pragmatic stance on the issues to encourage settlement and, if reasonable, compromise to reach this settlement. Recently approved Guidelines and Principles Governing the Collaborative Law Process and the Stipulation and Order Re: Collaborative Law have come into use in formalizing and completing the process.