Here in Alamance County, several local family law attorneys have come together to organize a collaborative law group so that we may offer our clients an alternative way to resolve their divorce-related conflicts. The Vernon Law Firm has been at the forefront of this recent effort.

The North Carolina Legislature authorized the Collaborative Law alternative for family law disputes through the passage of N.C.G.S. §50-70 many years ago.

The core concepts and intentions contained in that law include:

• A pledge by parties and counsel to negotiate a mutually acceptable settlement without
going to court to resolve disputes so long as the parties are involved in the collaborative
process;
• Honest and good faith communication and exchange of information with a goal of
creating solutions that take into account the interests of all parties;
• The required withdrawal of all attorneys involved if any client chooses to go to court.
Collaborative Law involves a “paradigm shift;” a commitment to look at legal disputes as problems to be solved instead of contests to be won or lost. Instead of rights, duties, and obligations, the emphasis is on acknowledging harm or disagreement, making appropriate restitution or other adjustments or compromises, and repairing relationships. Instead of winning cases on any basis possible, collaborative practitioners focus on healing or transforming relationships.

Burdensome and expensive discovery, technical legal arguments, “scorched earth” tactics, and purposeful delay are rejected as not helpful to the goals of problem-solving and relationship preservation.

Clients and their attorneys meet together to discuss all issues ranging from visitation with children to allocation of marital assets, with the goal of resolving the issues in the best interest of everyone involved.

Our family law attorneys are trained in Collaborative Law and ready to discuss this unique option with interested clients.