How The Collaborative Team Process Can Save Money

The best way for clients to save money is to use what we call the collaborative team process which is a way of resolving disputes without the matter going to court.

In almost every Family Law case, there are disagreements that cannot be resolved by the clients on their own, and so they need some assistance. Probably the most expensive way of resolving those disputes is the court system. It can be slow and very expensive and the outcome is determined by strangers; that is, the judges who hear your case make decisions that have a huge impact on your life and they don’t know you as well as you know yourself and your family. The judges do their very best but it’s difficult for them to provide the best solutions for every family. They just don’t have the time to do that sort of investigation.

The collaborative team process involves each client retaining a lawyer and the parties signing an agreement at the very outset that says that they will not go to court. If they choose to go to court, they have to get new lawyers and start over with the process. That agreement has a huge impact on the process because now the lawyers become settlement specialists rather than litigators. The lawyers now focus on helping the clients settle their case in a reasonable way rather than preparing for court because they will not be involved in court with these clients. Should the matter go to court, both clients have to start all over with new lawyers. The lawyers focus their energy on the collaboration process and are there to help the parties resolve any outstanding issues.

There is a penalty to the clients for not committing to the process, because if one of them chooses to go to court, then both parties have to get new lawyers. They have to tell their story all over to the new lawyers and start their whole legal process again. This consequence is a real incentive for the clients to negotiate in good faith and settle all of the issues. And it works extremely well. The research in the United States indicates that about 90 percent of cases that go to collaboration are resolved. And, interestingly, the research indicates that of the few cases that do not resolve, even those participants would recommend this process to other people who are going through a divorce and separation.


If you, or someone you care about, is dealing with family law issues in the Barrie, Ontario Region, contact Galbraith Family Law for a consultation.

This article is taken from a September 23, 2008 interview with Brian Galbraith, Family Lawyer with Galbraith Family Law, a Barrie Ontario Family Law Firm. Note that laws vary from province to province. Please consult with a lawyer in your own area to be sure of the laws and specific issues in your own jurisdiction.