I am excited by all the publicity the Birmingham Collaborative Alliance (http://www.birminghamcollaborative.com/) has been able to generate among the local and State bar associations for their upcoming training sessions. One of the best descriptions of the collaborative law model comes from an e-mail sent to members of the Alabama State Bar Association by Judy Keegen, the executive director of the Alabama Center for Dispute Resolution (http://alabamaadr.org/):
Collaborative law provides a private, voluntary, no-court option for resolving divorce and other family disputes. It is utilized by parties who prefer to avoid the costs and stress of litigation. The collaborative process provides a method for respectful and open discussion designed to generate creative solutions for important issues. Everyone involved, both spouses and their attorneys, pledge not to litigate, but to work to settle the case by agreement. This client-centered process provides more predictability and may lower costs. Parties may engage the services of a neutral financial analyst, a child specialist or coaches to work with them as they collaborate.
I hope this model takes hold in Alabama and provides families facing divorce with more options to resolve their disputes in a peaceful and meaningful way. The training sessions will take place September 15-17, 2011.