I’ve decided to use the Collaborative Process for my divorce. What do the 4-Way Meetings Look Like?



First things first… CONGRATULATIONS on choosing a process that is going to put your children in the centre, instead of in the middle.

As you likely know, the Collaborative Process is based on the idea that all of your discussions about your separation and divorce will occur within the context of “4-way meetings”.  Here is your cheat sheet about the Process.

Who: Usually it’s only you, your spouse, and each lawyer.  If everyone consents, others may join the meetings such as professional advisors or family members.  The separating spouses are responsible for determining the outcomes, and the lawyers are responsible for managing the process and establishing an environment conducive to good communication.

When: Meetings are set based on all 4 parties’ schedules.  They may be set every couple weeks or every couple of months depending on the parties.  We average between 3-6 meetings, based on the number of issues and the level of conflict.

Where:  Usually you will alternate between each lawyer’s boardroom.

What: This is what we do during the meetings:

  • Review and sign Participation Agreement
  • Identify what’s important to each party
  • Identify issues and prioritize
  • Gather information
  • Lawyers provide legal advice
  • Generate and weigh options for resolution
  • Achieve resolution
  • Lawyers draft the final agreement and the divorce papers

One suggestion – don’t worry too much about how the process works.  Your Collaborative lawyer’s job is to walk you through the process.  Just worry about whether it’s the right process for you.  Have a look at our archived articles on our website to learn more about the process, or go to www.collaborativepractice.ca.

Share your stories with me how did the Collaborative Process work for you? Were you pleased with your choice? Send me an email  or follow me on Twitter at @sdobsonlawyer and send me a tweet.  I want to hear from you!