Interdisciplinary Collaborative Practice (ICP) is a dispute resolution process in which the clients, their lawyers and a neutral coach enter into a contract (the Participation Agreement) to resolve a dispute without resorting to litigation. It is “law without litigation and mediation with advice”.
ICP is a unique dispute process as it offers a ‘team’ (lawyers, a neutral coach, a child consultant (if appropriate) a financial expert or any other professional that may be appropriate) to guide, advise, and support the clients achieve the best outcome for the family as a whole.
Integrated Problem Solving
The clients and all the collaborative practitioners who sign the participation agreement, commit to an open, honest and transparent process. It is an integrated problem solving approach using interest based negotiation, which focuses on the interests and needs of the clients.
Each client tells their story to and receives their legal advice from their lawyer in front of the other lawyer and their client.
The Participation Agreement provides that the lawyers will no longer act for the clients if the collaborative process breaks down. This provision has the effect of focussing all of the participants to the negotiation on reaching a resolution. It removes the temptation for the clients and their lawyers to posture and/or commence litigation when an impasse arises.
The Value of a Coach
In family law matters it is often the non – legal issues which are driving or causing the problems. When an emotionally loaded issue comes up, as it often does with divorce and separation, solving the problem technically will only address one element of the client’s needs. And this is where a coach can add heretofore unrecognised value to what is at its core a legal process. A coach normally has a background in the social sciences or mental health and so can add a layer of emotional intelligence to the process.
Collaborative practitioners have come to realise what the advertising industry has always known: that it is emotions, rather than rational thought per se, that cause clients to take action. Emotions are what motivate and move them. So if the emotions are dealt with first, the clients can get to a place where rational decisions will be made and outcomes achieved.