Collaborative Law

A Positive Solution to Your Legal Problems

Crafted as a new model for alternative dispute resolution, Collaborative Law enables couples who have decided to separate or end their marriage to work towards a positive resolution without the uncertain, costly, and expensive outcome of court and to achieve a settlement that best meets the specific needs of both parties and their children without the underlying threat of contested litigation. Collaborative Law has also shown great potential in helping parties reach an agreement in other areas of family law as well, including disputes between parents and drafting pre- and post-marital agreements.

Collaborative Law is a voluntary process that is initiated when the couple signs a "participation agreement" which evidences their commitment and legal obligation to the process. Both parties to a dispute retain separate, specially-trained lawyers who work with the parties to help them settle the dispute. As part of the agreement, all participants agree to work together respectfully, honestly, and in good faith to try to find a positive solution that addresses the legitimate needs of both parties.

An attorney representing a client in the Collaborative Law process has a duty distinct from the traditional adversarial role. The attorney works closely with a client to advise him or her throughout the process, acting as a counselor and trusted friend. Unlike mediation, there is no neutral arbitrator. Therefore, the attorneys for both parties play a key role in helping their clients come to terms that are favorable for both sides. No one in the Collaborative Law process may go to court, or even threaten to do so, and if that should occur, the Collaborative Law process terminates and both lawyers are disqualified from any further involvement in the case. Lawyers hired for a Collaborative Law representation can never under any circumstances go to court for the clients who retained them.

Is the Collaborative Law process right for me?

The Collaborative Law process has proven very effective in helping many couples and families find a positive solution to their problems. The Collaborative Law process, however, is not for everyone. The following considerations may be useful in helping you decide:

  • Are you hoping for a civilized, respectful resolution of the issues you are facing?
  • Is it important for you to keep open the possibility of friendship with your partner down the road?
  • Will you and your partner be sharing joint custody of your children, and are you looking to maintain the best co-parenting relationship possible?
  • Are you concerned about protecting your children from the harm associated with litigated dispute-resolution between parents?
  • Do you and your partner have a circle of friends and extended family in common that you both want to remain connected to?
  • Do you place high value on handling conflicts with integrity and dignity?
  • Is maintaing privacy in your personal affairs important, such that you do not want details of your family restructuring to be available in the public court record?
  • Do you value control and autonomous decisionmaking, and are you reluctant to hand over decisions about restructuring your financial and/or child-rearing arrangements to a judge?

Collaborative lawyers have a completely different state of mind regarding what their job entails, compared with traditional lawyers. Collaborative lawyers are dedicated to helping their clients achieve their highest intentions for themselves in their post-divorce restructured families. Collaborative lawyers expect and encourage the highest good-faith problem-solving behavior from their own clients and themselves, and they stake their own professional integrity on delivering that, in any collaborative representation they participate in.

Attorney Dohner understands that the most effective way to serve the best interests of his clients is to act with, and demand, the highest integrity from clients and the other participants in the collaborative process. The quality of our work product and the successful results we are able to deliver to our clients have earned our firm an exceptional reputation in the community. Clients rely on the superior services we render and have confidently referred the Dohner Law Firm to their friends, family, and colleagues. Attorney Dohner takes great care in nurturing close client relationships and establishing open lines of communication with clients, counseling them as they strive to achieve a positive result. Contact us today.

Mr. Dohner is a trained and certified Collaborative lawyer. He is a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP).