Divorce Online announced their support for collaborative divorce (excerpt):
. . . [F]amily law is different. Who is the winner and who the loser in an argument about what should happen to the family home, or in a dispute about the living arrangements for children? Many judges who regularly hear family cases would generally agree with – and express – the sentiment that if a family conflict reaches the courts, a fair outcome will result only in both parties feeling like losers.
So what are the alternatives to court? Negotiation and mediation have been around for a little while. But these alternatives, however useful and effective in their own right, share one disadvantage that can make them unsuitable for some people: the option of going to court is always there in the background, for one party or the other to think, ‘This is as far as I am willing to compromise, because I would do at least as well as this if I went to court.’ And if both parties think this, then the negotiations will hit an impasse.
This is where a new approach, Collaborative Family Law, comes into its own. The unique feature of the collaborative process is a formal ‘participation agreement’, which prevents the parties and the lawyers from relying on the fall-back option of the court if agreement is not reached. In effect, if the collaborative process fails, then the parties have to instruct new lawyers and start from scratch if they want to go to court. This ‘stick’ motivates everybody involved – including the lawyers – to do everything reasonable to reach agreement. There is also the ‘carrot’ of the parties having far more control over the outcome of their dispute than if they were to ask a judge to make a decision for them.