Bartlett Law Firm

Collaborative Law Center

Columbia - 803-699-2490 Charleston 843-480-4475

What is Collaborative Practice?  

The end of a marriage or relationship can be tragic enough.  Often, the process of divorcing only adds to the pain.  You and your spouse or partner may come to see each other as adversaries and the divorce as a battleground.  You may experience feelings of confusion, anger, loss and conflict.  Under such circumstances, you might find it difficult to see an end to divorce, much less imagine a hopeful future afterwards. 

But it doesn't have to be this way.  A growing number of parting couples, along with other professionals such as lawyer, mental health professionals and financial specialists, have been seeking a more constructive alternative.  These professionals have developed the Collaborative Law model.

Collaborative Practice is a voluntary dispute resolution process in which parties settle without resort to litigation.


In Collaborative Practice:

1.      The parties sign a collaborative participation agreement describing the nature and scope of the matter.

2.     The parties voluntarily disclose all information which is relevant and material to the matter that must be decided.

3.     The parties agree to use good faith efforts in their negotiations to reach a mutually acceptable settlement;

4.     Each party must be represented by a lawyer whose representation terminates upon the undertaking of any contested court proceeding;

5.     The parties may engage mental health and financial professionals whose engagement terminates upon the undertaking of any contested court proceeding; and

6.    The parties may jointly engage other experts as needed.

Collaborative Practice provides you and your spouse or partner with the support and guidance of your own lawyers without going to court.  Additionally,  Collaborative Practice allows you the benefit of coaches, child and financial specialists all working together with you on your team.

In Collaborative Practice, core elements form your commitments to this process, which are to:  

  • Negotiate a mutually acceptable resolution without having courts decide issues.
  • Maintain open communication and information sharing.
  • Create shared solutions acknowledging the highest priorities of all.

Studies show approximately 50% of all first marriages will end in divorce, with over 1 million children being affected per year.

Impact of Divorce on Children: Developmental Considerations