Collaborative law is a newer type of alternative dispute resolution that mainly arises in divorce and family law. Each party hires a lawyer, and along with other professionals such as financial experts or divorce coaches, the parties meet to negotiate an agreement. Collaborative law is similar in tone to mediation because the parties usually agree to negotiating terms that make the process agreeable such as an agreement to not use certain language or not make accusations. One unique aspect of collaborative law is that the parties cannot use or threaten to use the court system. If a party threatens a lawsuit, the collaborative law process terminates and the lawyers cannot participate any further in the dispute. The collaborative law process can be much cheaper than going through the court system, but because lawyers and other professionals are involved, collaborative law can be more expensive and longer than mediation.
[Last updated in June of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]