Collaborative Practice FAQ

Collaborative Practice is a new form of alternate dispute resolution that for offers divorcing couples a hands-on settlement with legal representation. It is a method of resolving divorce issues with the active participation of a lawyer for each party. By contract, both parties and both lawyers agree not to litigate. If negotiations break down, the lawyers are disqualified from representing their clients in litigation. The lawyers work cooperatively to structure the process and facilitate settlement.

Learn more about Collaborative Practice here:
Collaborative Divorce: A Safe Place (video)
Collaborative Divorce Knowledge Kit (PDF download)
Collaborative Practice White Board Presentation (video)

This page is designed to provide you with more information on what Collaborative Practice is and how it may benefit you. If you think you may be interested in this process, you should consult a lawyer listed on the Collaborative Law Alliance of New Hampshire website.

Collaborative Practice FAQ

1. What is Collaborative Practice?

2. What is Collaborative Law?

3. What are the advantages of Collaborative Practice?

4. What is the "disqualification provision"?

5. We are planning to do our divorce without lawyers because we're afraid that lawyers will turn it into a battle. Why would we want Collaborative Practice?

6. Can all lawyers use Collaborative Practice?

7. How do I find a Collaborative Lawyer?

8. How do I persuade my spouse to use the Collaborative Practice process?

9. My spouse already has a lawyer, a person who is not trained in Collaborative Practice. What can I do?

10. Does a Collaborative Practice divorce cost less?

11. Which is better, Collaborative Practice or mediation?

12. Where can I get more information on Collaborative Law?


1. What is Collaborative Practice?
Collaborative Law is a way of making legal decisions without going to court. Like mediation, it is an "alternative dispute resolution" technique. Both clients and both lawyers meet in a series of 4-way meetings to work out all issues. The lawyers may not threaten to go to court.
2. What is Collaborative Law?
It is the same thing as Collaborative Practice.
3. What are the advantages of Collaborative Practice?
  • Each party is represented by his or her lawyer from the beginning.
  • The lawyers (and clients) all work on settlement, without the distraction of preparing for litigation.
  • No threats of "I'll see you in court."
  • Neutral experts, such as a coach and financial professional, assist as needed.
  • Focus on creative solutions, rather than the emotional content.
  • The lawyers are available to provide advice during the negotiation sessions.
  • 4. What is the "disqualification provision"?
    This is the technical term meaning that if the Collaborative Practice process breaks down, the lawyers must withdraw. The parties must hire new lawyers for litigation. The "disqualification provision" is part of the Agreement to the Principles and Guidelines of Collaborative Law, which is signed by both lawyers and both clients at the beginning of the process.
    5. We are planning to do our divorce without lawyers because we're afraid that lawyers will turn it into a battle. Why would we want Collaborative Practice?
    Collaborative Practice would be worth considering. It provides all the advantages of each person having a lawyer to provide legal advice and assist with decision-making, with no "battle." The lawyers commit to working cooperatively with each other and to staying out of court.
    6. Can all lawyers use Collaborative Practice?
    Because of the difference from litigation, special training is required. In New Hampshire, all Collaborative Law practitioners have at least 12 hours of training in the technique.
    7. How do I find a Collaborative Lawyer?
    For a list of New Hampshire attorneys who have completed the Collaborative Law training, click here. Most, but not all of them handle divorce and other family law cases.
    8. How do I persuade my spouse to use the Collaborative Practice process?
    A "soft sell" usually is best. Give your spouse some information about Collaborative Practice (including how to get more information). Suggest that he or she have an initial interview with one of the lawyers trained in Collaborative Law.
    9. My spouse already has a lawyer, a person who is not trained in Collaborative Practice. What can I do?
    Both parties must agree to use Collaborative Practice for the process to happen. This means that both must select lawyers trained in Collaborative Law. Suggest that your spouse consider the Collaborative Practice option, perhaps meet with a trained lawyer.
    10. Does a Collaborative Practice divorce cost less?
    Reaching an agreement on all the divorce issues always means less legal fees than litigation. This is true whatever route is taken to get to the agreement - Collaborative Law, mediation, or negotiation.
    11. Which is better, Collaborative Practice or mediation?
    These are both excellent ways of settling disputes. The real question is, what method would work best in your case? In mediation, the parties work with a neutral mediator who assists them in making decisions. Each party gets advice from his or her lawyer as needed. In Collaborative Practice, there is no neutral person, instead the process involves the lawyers directly. The lawyers, rather than the neutral mediator, set the agenda and manage the process. To use either mediation or Collaborative Practice, both parties must agree on the method.
    12. Where can I get more information on Collaborative Law?
    If you want information on Collaborative Practice in states other than New Hampshire, check the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals for the directory of groups in the U.S. and Canada.
    The Collaborative Law Alliance of New Hampshire provides information on its website at www.CollaborativeLawNH.org.
    New Hampshire Bar News Collaborative Law article by Honey Hastings.
    List of trained Collaborative Law attorneys licensed to practice in New Hampshire
    The Collaborative Way to Divorce: The Revolutionary Method that Results in Less Stress, Lower Cost, and Happier Kids — Without Going to Court by Stuart G. Webb & Ronald D. Ousky
    The Revolutionary New Way to Restructure Your Family, Resolve Legal Issues, and Move on with Your Life by Pauline Tesler and Peggy Thompson

    Click on the link for more information on Collaborative Law. For Collaboration attorneys in states other than New Hampshire, check the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals for the directory of groups in the U.S. and Canada.


    ©1995-2017 Honey Hastings