The Collaborative Process, Step-by-Step

  • Article
  • 3 Minute Read
  • Author: OCLF

A step-by-step guide to the collaborative process.

  1. Phone or in-person consultation – describe process options which you offer and screening
  2. Engaging the client’s unrepresented spouse (referrals, brochures, letters, website); or being in touch with the collaborative colleague who represents your client’s spouse
  3. Putting the team together (first counsel call or first professional call depending on whose door the file came through – what team members are needed)
  4. Collaborative retainers signed
  5. Schedule another meeting with your client to go over the Participation Agreement, to have an extended interview about what their needs, interests, goals and concerns are, to gather information (Client Goals and Concerns Questionnaire)
  6. The family professional, financial professional and/or the child specialist has an initial in-person consult with the clients, individually (and screening)
  7. Family professional reports back to TEAM about individual intakes and TEAM designs process
  8. The TEAM creates the Agenda for the first meeting which is distributed to the clients in plenty of time to confer with their lawyers
  9. Clients meet with their respective counsel to prepare for the first meeting
  10. First Meeting:  Welcome, describe the process and how we will move through the Agenda (see example of First Meeting Agenda addressing urgent issues if appropriate)
  11. Before the meeting ends, sketch out the Agenda for the next meeting (preparation to talk about goals)
  12. Book 1-4 meetings with everyone present (some with full team / some may be parenting mediation sessions with Family Professional)
  13. De-briefs with your own client and with the TEAM
  14. Progress Notes prepared, approved and distributed
  15. Homework completed – particularly Financial Disclosure primarily through Financial Professional and valuations started if appropriate
  16. Prep meetings as needed for subsequent meetings (lawyer-client meetings / family professional client meetings / financial professional client meetings / TEAM meetings)
  17. The TEAM members talk before each meeting and the Agenda is distributed well in advance of each meeting
  18. Once agreements start to be developed, one lawyer begins to draft the Agreement; the draft is edited by collaborative counter-part lawyer until both lawyers agree the draft is ready to be shared with the clients. The Family Professional prepares / reviews the Parenting Plan language. The Financial Professional reviews the financial part of draft Agreement
  19. Once the Agreement, and all other required documents are ready to be signed, a final signing meeting is set up (usually altogether / sometimes separately)
  20. Post-signing follow up – forms that need to be completed / submitted / reporting letters
  21. If everyone is comfortable, some kind of ‘closing’ moment is shared

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