The provision in the Collaborative Practice Agreement that provides that if the collaborative process breaks down or is ended for any reason the lawyers are disqualified from representing either party in litigation is what makes collaborative practice different from mediation, lawyer negotiation or other alternate dispute resolution processes.
The disqualification provision causes the collaborative professionals to be committed to helping the parties resolve their dispute rather than proceeding on the basis that if agreement cannot be reached the dispute will end up in court. The collaborative professionals approach the dispute with an acknowledgement that the needs and interests of both parties need to be understood and that other family members will be impacted by how the dispute is handled. The parties are encouraged to have open and transparent communication and to cooperate. The lawyers acknowledge that the interests of the other party are important and work with their collaborative colleagues to develop options that enable both parties to move forward with their lives.