Flexible Process

General Flow of the Collaborative Divorce

First, procedural matters are addressed and a Collaborative Team is assembled. The parties and the Team sign the Participation Agreement, which will govern conduct throughout the Collaborative Divorce. The Participation Agreement also creates the necessary “safe environment” for negotiation. (Please note that the Participation Agreement is a crucial element of Collaborative Divorce. If there is no Participation Agreement in place during your negotiation process, you are NOT engaged in a Collaborative Divorce. Beware of imitators because not all family lawyers are Collaborative Lawyers!)

Once the Participation Agreement is signed, all relevant documentation is gathered and shared. This may include the detailed financial information of the parties, information about any children’s needs and desires, and information about each party’s particular needs, abilities and goals for the future.

Using the openly-shared information, meetings and discussions are conducted where the issues are prioritized and scrutinized. Eventually, practical solutions are brain-stormed.

Collaborative Process Fundamentals

Once solutions are on the table, they are checked for feasibility and durability. They are revised or scrapped as appropriate, until the best solutions present themselves. Because nobody is interested in debating the same issues again a year or two down the road, the idea is to find the solutions that lay the foundation for a durable Separation Agreement and Parenting Plan.

Finally, the mutually-agreed upon solutions are documented on paper. The formalities are performed, such as signing the Separation Agreement and Parenting Plan, and filing the official documents with the court (if applicable) for an order of divorce.

(Note: The only way to get an actual order for a divorce in British Columbia is to get it from a judge; however, if the parties have a Separation Agreement in place and all issues between them are resolved, this can be done through documentation only and nobody needs to actually appear in court.)

Once the divorce order is pronounced, the Collaborative Divorce process comes to an end.

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