For a case to be Collaborative as defined by the NC General Statutes, a written contract must be signed by the parties and their attorneys in the initial stage of the case. In the event a written Collaborative Agreement is not signed, the case is not legally collaborative as collaborative law is defined by NCGS §50-70.
An attorney who agrees to represent a client using collaborative law procedures and confirms such representation by signing a Collaborative Agreement is not permitted to later represent the client in an adversarial court proceeding against the client’s spouse. While a client can opt out of the Collaborative Law Process at any time the client may not use his or her Collaborative Law attorney (that has signed a Collaborative Agreement) for adversarial litigation. With the signing of a Collaborative Agreement, the parties are committing to the open and honest disclosure of all assets, liabilities and issues important to the case.
Collaborative Law is focused on interest based bargaining rather than position based bargaining. A win – win resolution is the goal of Collaborative Law with the parties reaching an agreement that everyone can live with.
North Carolina General Statutes §50-70 through §50-79 govern Collaborative Law Proceedings in North Carolina.
Laura B. Burt has previously served as both President and Vice President of the Mecklenburg County Collaborative Law Group. Ms. Burt was a founding member of the Mecklenburg County Collaborative Law Group.