Collaborative Law

"What if we saw ourselves, our clients, and opposing counsel as all part of the same team ... treating (separation and) divorce as a set of problems to be solved rather than a contest to be won?" — Donald Royall, Houston Texas

In Collaborative Law, each party is represented by a collaborative lawyer, and all are committed to resolving issues by agreement, without litigation. The goal of Collaborative Law is to help people come to agreement about the issues they face together, through needs- and interest-based negotiation (rather than adversarial win/lose contests) and full disclosure of relevant information.

Barbara first became interested in Collaborative Law when the movement began in the early 90's. She renewed her interest in 2005, convinced that there was finally a way to re-enter the practice of law with integrity and compassion. Making full use of her 20 + years of dispute resolution work with families, corporations and businesses, Barbara helped form, a multidisciplinary regional practice group of similarly-minded professionals along with her practice in Asheville, NC, serving western North Carolina.

For families with children (of whatever age), Collaborative Law provides a way for parents to restructure, allowing them to co-parent and communicate on good terms. To whatever extent possible, both parents can be actively involved in their children's lives and able to participate comfortably in their children's milestone events – graduation, marriage, births, ball games, drama productions, tap dance performances. For others, Collaborative Law provides an opportunity for business partners, family members, friends and/or neighbors to resolve legal issues respectfully, cooperatively, quickly, and intelligently.

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If parties don't reach agreement in Collaborative Law, the attorneys and experts resign and are not available to participate in any contested court action. Consequently, Collaborative lawyers work very hard to help their clients successfully reach agreement, and to communicate productively throughout the process.

Multidisciplinary teams are used, enabling parties together to hire the experts they need to resolve their issues. For example one or more of the following professionals may be essential to the resolution process: business appraiser, real estate appraisers, mental health professional, financial planner, tax advisor. The multidisciplinary team approach saves parties the time, expense, stress and inherent contradictions of hiring separate experts.

Collaborative Law provides a framework for negotiation and an alternative to litigation that makes great common sense – it typically saves time, money, emotional distress, and relationships.

Click Here for Questions and Answers About Collaborative Law

"I am grateful that everything has worked out so well. I am grateful that you are who you are. There was never a moment in 21 years of marriage that I thought (my husband) and I would separate. Never once did I imagine that we would not spend the rest of our lives together. Because we have been able to proceed in the manner which we have, it is fairly certain that he and I will always be friends, and for that I am really grateful. There are really no words to describe that gratitude. It is just too big."
"When I first met you at the gym, I thought you were a social worker because you have so much empathy and are so compassionate. When I found out you were a lawyer, I had to re-write my impression of lawyers."