Are you interested in avoiding court altogether during your divorce process? If you’ve already retained a lawyer, but are not yet ready to head to court, there are three different ways for you to negotiate your file and avoid court altogether. 

Lawyer Assisted Negotiations:

The first way to help negotiate your file is through lawyer assisted negotiations. This takes place before entering the court system, going into any meetings, and obtaining a mediator or third party to assist you. Your lawyer can help you negotiate your divorce file before taking any of those steps. This can be completed with either the other party on their own, or the other party can also include their lawyer. The lawyers exchange their proposals along with their position for their proposals. 

Collaborative Process:

The second option for you to consider when negotiating your file is actually having a collaborative process between lawyers take place. There is a misconception about what a collaborative process entails. A collaborative process is essentially a collaboration that takes place in order to help avoid any uncertain outcomes as a result of going to court. The point behind this is to help achieve a settlement that best meets the specific needs of both parties.

Lawyers like to call them “Big C collaboratives.” When you hire a lawyer and you decide to make this process happen, there is a Big C, which means an official collaborative agreement has to be signed by all parties involved. In this agreement it confirms with all the parties and counsel that the situation will never be taken to court. This is a good option if you or someone involved wants to avoid the court process altogether. 

Everything must be settled in the collaborative process before it can officially be completed. If you or anyone involved in this process wants out, they absolutely must hire another lawyer and start the process anew. This can be scary for individuals to partake in. However, if you’re ready to collaborate, settle and negotiate, not going to court is a great advantage and may be worthwhile. If this negotiation option sounds like the best opportunity for you, be sure to check to see if the lawyer you’re hiring is qualified in the Big C Collaborative, as not all lawyers are. 

Another route to go is being a part of a collaborative process without signing an agreement. If you want to do this, speak to your lawyer and tell them you want to be collaborative in the law process without actually signing. Oftentimes lawyers that offer unbundled services will suggest going the collaborative route if they prefer to settle. What this means is the process includes negotiation, settlement discussions, full disclosure of financial information, and preparation of various agreements.  The full spectrum of issues will be decided in the collaborative process based on the type of law you are looking for. 

Four Week Meeting: 

The third option to help negotiate your file is called a four week meeting. This process is a great option to take advantage of if things are cordial between both parties and you intend to keep it that way throughout the whole process. This four week meeting is between all parties and their counsel in a boardroom of their choosing. For instance, it could take place on neutral ground or a boardroom of one of the law firms. In this process lawyers prepare in advance and have their financial disclosure ready along with all the other details involved. 

The whole point behind the four week process is to come up with a solution and resolve as many issues as possible during a non confrontational collaborative. The goal is to have a negotiation while everybody is present and facing each other to keep the peace, while also keeping the conversation going. 

The lawyer involved in the four week process will try to resolve everything to the best of their ability. Meeting face to face may not be for everyone. If this is the case, you have the option to conduct meetings in a separate room. A four person meeting is a great way to dig deeper into the situation, while learning how to best resolve issues voluntarily between the parties without involvement of the court. The only other parties involved would be the lawyers. This is a perfect route to take if both parties involved in the process would prefer to resolve everything in an amicable way.

If you have been stuck trying to decide between the different options for negotiating your file, here at CBM we have all the information to help you decide what is right for you and your family. You can choose one of these options, or give us a call for more information in regards to the settlement process. When you call our firm, you get to speak to a real person. We don’t want to make the process more of a hassle so our team is here to make your situation as comfortable and stress-free as possible. 

You can listen to Julia, one of our Family Law lawyers speak on the 3 different methods of negotiation here: