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CIVIL COLLABORATION

Collaborating Other Types of Disputes

The collaborative process was developed by a Minnesota family lawyer fed up with divorce litigation.  His goal was to help parties resolve disputes in a manner that demonstrated mutual respect and addressed key values of the parties involved.  Collaborating parties each hire collaborative lawyers.  These four form a team to address their issues.  The team  may include collaboratively-trained coaches, financial advisers, and other neutral professionals.  The collaborative process is directly applicable to non-divorce disputes, such as those involving elder care, probate, contracts, family-owned businesses, business partnership breakups, medical negligence, attorney negligence, employment conditions and termination, construction, insurance, and neighbor conflicts. 

Collaborating civil matters:
     • Reduces financial costs and wasted time,
     • Addresses emotional issues of the parties,
     • Preserves ongoing relationships between the parties,
     • Avoids publicity and secures confidentiality,
     • Puts the parties in charge of the negotiation process and its timing,
     • Encourages respect and maintaining the dignity of all parties,
     • Requires open communication and exchange of documents,
     • Uses problem-solving and interest-based negotiation,
     • Addresses parties’ issues that the litigation has neither time for nor interest in discussing, and
     • Creates durable solutions tailored by the parties to their own specific needs.

In civil collaboration, the parties make a commitment to resolve their conflict outside the court system, to aim solely at settlement from the outset of negotiations, to make full and transparent disclosure of all material information, and to address the parties’ interests and needs.  The aim is to reduce costs, preserve relationships, and to keep disputes private.

In civil collaboration, the parties and their professional team maintain control of the process.  The parties and team meet face-to-face with other neutral experts as needed.  Good faith negotiation is the rule.

Consider collaborating your probate or neighbor dispute.  Ask your doctor, hospital, or contractor to collaborate when things go awry.  The court system should be a forum of last resort, not a first recourse.  The only way to win a war is to avoid it in the first place.  Consider collaborating.


Brad Lancaster works as a Seattle divorce attorney, and Seattle probate attorney, and Seattle elder law attorney, serving King County and Snohomish County, including Seattle, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Edmonds, Woodway, Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace, Alderwood, Brier, Kenmore, Woodinville, Mukilteo, Mill Creek, and Everett.  Brad provides collaborative solutions to human conflict.

Lancaster Law Office
17503 Tenth Avenue NE
Shoreline, Washington 98155
Phone: 206-367-3122

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Collaborative Practice