In 2009, the Uniform Collaborative Law Act (UCLA) was first introduced and approved. With the enactment of the UCLA, a uniform set of laws could be adopted in individual states and provide consistency on how collaborative cases were handled. Currently, twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have enacted or introduced the Uniform Collaborative Law Act, meaning there are still many more states that need the UCLA enacted.
Collaborative law, called collaborative divorce when used in a divorce case, is an alternative to the traditional legal process. Those with family law issues work alongside their lawyers and perhaps other family professionals to reach a settlement that meets the needs of the parties and their children.
Using collaborative law, families are able to avoid the uncertain outcome of a court proceeding and the stress involved in contested litigation.
The process is completely voluntary on the part of the parties and cannot begin until each has signed a participation agreement. This contract binds them to the process and disqualifies them from future family-related litigation unless each party retains new counsel.
The collaborative family law process offers the lawyers and the parties an incentive to settle the dispute in this less expensive, less stressful manner since the lawyers themselves are excluded from taking the same matter they collaborate on to court.