1.  Client-Centered
    • Unlike the traditional adversarial process, the Collaborative process focuses on meeting the goals, interests, and needs of the clients through open communication. It is based on the premise that one party’s self interest can best be served by maximizing the satisfaction of the other party.


  2.  Mutual
    • The Collaborative process is entirely voluntary and mutual. Both parties must choose to use the process, and no decisions are made without the mutual consent of the parties. Mutuality gives clients a feeling of control over their outcome, and a feeling of safety that nothing will be imposed upon them.


  3.  Team Approach
    • In litigation, a litigation team is assembled that includes experts who battle against each other. In the Collaborative process, Allied Professionals are a part of the team; however, they are jointly retained and are neutral: they work for the benefit of both clients, and not just for one side. As a result, more accurate and beneficial information is provided to the parties.


  4.  Private
    • By using the Collaborative process, the parties agree that they will not go to court while involved in the process. All issues of the parties remain private among them. There is no recording of any of the meetings, other than Minutes taken down by the attorneys, which are maintained by the clients and team members only, and are kept confidential.


  5.  Full Disclosure
    • The Collaborative process includes the full disclosure of all information that the clients deem necessary in order to analyze options and problem-solve. The attorneys assist the clients to determine what information is needed, including whether outside experts need to be involved. Collaborative attorneys commit not to play “hide the ball” with information.


  6.  Structural
    • Just as in traditional litigation, there is a process that is followed. Texas was the first state in the country to pass a statue on Collaborative law. There are also protocols of practice for attorneys, mental health professionals and financial professionals. It is the job of the attorneys to ensure that the process is followed so that the clients may obtain their most valuable acceptable outcome. Agendas are prepared in advance of each meeting. The party’s interests are developed, information is gathered, all options are explored and agreements are reached.

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