Collaborative Law is a means of dispute resolution whereby the parties and their attorneys work together via collaborative law procedures to resolve the outstanding issues (i.e. division of assets and liabilities, alimony, child custody and/ or child support) without litigation.
For a case to be “Collaborative,” as defined by the NC General Statutes, a written contract confirming the case to be handled collaboratively 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 then 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 the attorney who signed a Collaborative Agreement for adversarial litigation. With the signing of the Collaborative Agreement, the parties are committing to the open and honest disclosure of all assets, liabilities and issues important to the case.
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, and was a founding member.