Principles & Guidelines for the
Practice of Collaborative Law
(The parties to a Collaborative Divorce are asked
to adopt the following)
The essence of "Collaborative Law" is the shared
belief by participants that it is in their best
interests and those of their families to commit
themselves to avoiding divorce litigation.
This conflict resolution process, which does not
rely on a Court-imposed resolution, but relies on an
atmosphere of honesty, cooperation, integrity and
professionalism, is geared toward the immediate and
future well-being of the family.
The specific goals are to minimize, if not
eliminate, the negative economic, social and
emotional consequences of protracted divorce
litigation to the participants and their families.
The participants themselves commit to the
Collaborative Law process and agree to seek a better
way to resolve our differences justly and equitably.
II. NO COURT OR OTHER
The participants commit themselves to settling
their divorce case without court intervention.
The parties agree to give full, honest and open
disclosure of all information, whether requested or
The parties agree to engage in informal
discussions and conferences to settle all issues.
The parties agree to direct all attorneys,
accountants, therapists, appraisers and other
consultants to work in a cooperative effort to
resolve issues without resort to litigation or any
other external decision making process except as
III. PARTICIPATION WITH INTEGRITY
The parties pledge to work to protect the
privacy, respect and dignity of all involved,
including parties, attorneys and consultants.
The parties pledge to maintain a high standard of
integrity and specifically not to take advantage of
each other or of the miscalculations or inadvertent
mistakes of others, but shall identify and correct
IV. EXPERTS AND CONSULTANTS
If experts are needed, they are retained jointly
unless all parties and their attorneys agree
otherwise in writing.
V. CHILDREN'S ISSUES
In resolving issues about sharing the enjoyment
of and responsibility for their children, the
parties, attorneys and therapists shall make every
effort to reach amicable solutions that promote the
children's best interests.
The parties agree to act quickly to mediate and
resolve differences related to the children to
promote a caring, loving and involved relationship
between the children and both parents.
The parties agree not to seek a custody
evaluation while the matter is a Collaborative law
The parties agree to insulate their children from
involvement in their disputes.
The parties agree to attend the Parent Education
course offered by the Court.
VI. NEGOTIATION IN GOOD FAITH
The parties acknowledge that each of their
attorneys is independent from the other attorneys in
the Rocky Mountain Collaborative Law Professionals
group, and represents only one party in the
Collaborative Law divorce process.
The parties understand that the process, even
with full and honest disclosure, will involve
vigorous good faith negotiation.
Each party will be expected to take a reasoned
position in all disputes. Where such positions
differ, each party will be encouraged to exercise
good faith, and use best efforts to create proposals
to meet the fundamental needs of both, and if
necessary to compromise to reach a settlement of all
Although each party may discuss the likely
outcome of a litigated result, neither will use
threats of litigation as a way of forcing
VII. ABUSE OF THE COLLABORATIVE
The parties agree that an attorney will withdraw
from a case as soon as possible upon learning that
his or her client has withheld or misrepresented
information or otherwise acted so as to undermine or
take unfair advantage of the Collaborative Law
process. Examples of such violations of the process
are: the secret disposition of community,
quasi-community or separate property, failing to
disclose the existence or the true nature of assets
and/or obligations, failure to participate in the
spirit of the collaborative process, abuse of their
spouse, or the minor children, or planning to flee
the jurisdiction of the court with the children.
These are just examples and not an exhaustive list
of all reasons why an attorney may withdraw from the
Collaborative Law case.
VIII. DISQUALIFICATION BY COURT
The parties understand that their attorneys'
representation is limited to the Collaborative Law
process and that neither of their attorneys can ever
represent his or her client in court in a proceeding
against the other spouse.
In the event a court filing is unavoidable, both
attorneys will be disqualified from representing
In the event that the Collaborative Law process
terminates, all consultants will be disqualified as
witnesses and their work product will be
inadmissible as evidence unless the parties agree
otherwise in writing.
IX. ATTORNEY'S FEES AND COSTS
The parties agree that their attorneys are
entitled to be paid for their services, and the
first task in a collaborative matter is to ensure
parity of payment to each of them. The parties agree
to make funds available for this purpose.
The parties understand that there is no guarantee
that the process will be successful in resolving
The parties understand that divorce is not
without conflict, and the Collaborative Law process
cannot eliminate concerns about the disharmony,
distrust and irreconcilable differences which have
led to the divorce.
The parties understand that they are still
expected to assert their respective interests and
that their respective attorneys will help each to do
The parties understand that they should not lapse
into a false sense of security that the process will
protect each of them.
The parties understand that while their
collaborative attorneys share a commitment to the
process described in this document, each of them has
a professional duty to represent his or her own
client diligently, and is not the attorney for the