Lynn Ward is one of a group of attorneys in the Wichita, Kansas, area, who have been specifically trained to handle divorce cases in a collaborative format. The heart of Collaborative Family is to offer the parties to a divorce action the support, protection, and guidance of their own lawyers without going to court. Over the years, Lynn has handled dozens of cases in which the parties utilized Collaborative Family Law.
Collaborative Family Law (also called "no-court divorce," "divorce with dignity," "peaceful divorce" or “CFL”) is a method of handling a divorce case which avoids the courtroom. The husband, wife and their respective attorneys sign a contract at the beginning of the case not to take their disputes to court. Instead, all four individuals agree to work out the details of the divorce in four-way meetings among them. CFL is a continuation of the trend to empower participants in the divorce process that began with, and shares many of the principles of, mediation.
By definition, a CFL case requires that a husband and wife are each represented by counsel who have been trained in interest-based negotiation, the choreography and structure of CFL, and interpersonal conflict resolution skills. Counsel and clients execute a contract, called a Participation Agreement, which mandates that both attorneys are precluded from representing their respective clients in the event the case reaches impasse or in the event either party chooses to withdraw from the CFL process.
The roadmap of the process requires that the participants focus on the interests of both clients, gather sufficient information to ensure that decisions are made with full knowledge, create a full range of options, and then choose options that best meet the needs of the parties. The structure, along with the skill of counsel, creates a problem-solving atmosphere with a focus on interest-based negotiation and client empowerment.
For more information about collaborative family law, as well as the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP), please visit www.collaborativepractice.com.