This process is similar to the process of negotiation, as each party retains his or her own lawyer independently. However, the parties and their lawyers commit in writing to work together without the threat of going to court. They agree to work in a collaborative manner to achieve a settlement in order to avoid litigation.
However, there is one very significant difference between negotiation and collaborative law. If the collaborative process does not result in a resolution of the issues, then both parties must retain NEW lawyers to represent them if they decide to go to court. Because it is very costly for the clients to start all over again with a new lawyer, the collaborative process gives both parties a financial incentive to settle.
If the parties are successful in reaching an agreement, one of the lawyers will draft the legal document to make the terms of their settlement binding.
By not going to court, the clients have the ability to determine their own outcome. However, this process tends to be more costly than mediation because two lawyers are involved from beginning to end.
– Kelly Edmonds