top of page

Collaborative Family Law

We all want to maintain a sense of control over our lives but while going through a traditional divorce many people experience uncertainty and a lack of control which leaves them feeling stressed, anxious, and powerless. Collaborative family law allows you and your spouse to keep control over the transition from your marriage without the added stresses inherent in courtroom litigation.

Collaborative family law provides spouses with a commonsense approach to end their marriage and resolve post-decree family law matters without the high cost of litigation. If you are interested in learning more about collaborative family law and would like to talk with an accomplished and knowledgeable family law attorney, contact Christopher M. Alexander, Esq. at (513) 228–1100 or chris@alexander-legal.com.

What Is Collaborative Family Law and

Why Haven’t I Heard of it Before

The origin of “collaborative law” is credited to a Minnesota family lawyer named Stu Webb. Mr. Webb grew weary of the often frustrating and antagonistic nature of litigated divorces. In response, he shifted the focus of his family law practice to help clients settle and negotiate their issues outside the courtroom. Where individuals chose to pursue litigation to resolve their differences, Mr. Webb withdrew from representation.

The premise underlying collaborative family law is that when both parties and both attorneys are incentivized to work together to settle their differences, the resulting agreement will be in everyone’s best interest.

“Divorce is not so much a legal issue as it is a

personal relationship that has legal attachments.” 

Stuart Webb, 1990

The Ohio Collaborative Family Law Act was passed into law in 2012. In practice however, many family law attorneys began using the collaborative family law model nearly a decade before the statute was adopted.

I’ve Heard Collaborative Family Law is Less Expensive

Divorce and Dissolution do not have a one-size-fits-all price tag. An estimate of the cost of a typical divorce in our area is between $4,000 to $8,000. These figures though can increase quickly where contested litigation arises over the custody of minor children and when complex financial issues are involved. In these instances, collaborative family law tends to be much cheaper because it avoids costly litigation and often results in more amicable settlements that cause fewer post decree disagreements.

How Does Collaborative Family Work

The collaborative family law process is voluntary, and both spouses must mutually agree to participate. First, both spouses retain collaborative family law attorneys. After each spouse retains counsel, both spouses and their lawyers sign a Collaborative Family Law Participation Agreement that outlines the nature and scope of the domestic relations matter being undertaken.

By signing the Collaborative Family Law Participation Agreement, the parties and counsel agree to provide full and informal disclosure of all information which is relevant and material. By signing the Participation Agreement, parties and counsel are obligated and agree to use good faith efforts in their negotiations and attempt to reach a mutually acceptable settlement of all issues.

How Long Does Collaborative Family Law Take

If you live in Cincinnati and hear the phrase “four-way,” you immediately think of spaghetti covered in chili and onions, topped with shredded cheddar cheese . . . and likely some oyster crackers on the side.

In collaborative family law, however, a “four-way” is the name given to scheduled meetings where you, your spouse and both attorneys meet to negotiate and settle the issues in your dissolution. If additional professionals such as mental health professionals, parenting coaches or financial planners are involved in your case, they may also participate in the four-way meetings.

A typical collaborative family law matter takes between three (3) and (6) four-way meetings to reach a resolution. Customarily, four-way meetings are scheduled two to three weeks apart to provide each spouse adequate time to gather necessary information, consult with their attorney and consider unresolved issues.

Collaborative family law provides spouses with a commonsense approach to end their marriage and resolve post-decree family law matters without the high cost of litigation. If you are interested in learning more about collaborative family law and would like to talk with an accomplished and knowledgeable family law attorney, contact Christopher M. Alexander, Esq. at (513) 228–1100 or chris@alexander-legal.com.

bottom of page