The Pennsylvania Collaborative Law Act passed in 2018. It gives people undergoing a divorce several potential benefits such as lower costs, reduced stress and increased speed of the process.
A fresh look at this important law reveals more about its features.
Legitimizing collaborative law
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the PCLA set standards for how couples can create their own divorce outcomes. In the past, this process was not illegal, but it was not closely regulated. In fact, different rules and guidelines existed for different court jurisdictions. With the passage of the law, legal professionals now follow a uniform set of principles to guide clients through a divorce, while still allowing freedom to customize the process.
The collaborative process applies to disputes such as divorce, custody, support and estate litigation. In a divorce, each spouse retains their own attorney. The spouses enter into a participation agreement to resolve all issues in a legally binding form. In cases that fail to reach an agreement, the parties must retain new counsel for future litigation.
Learning lessons from an amicable divorce
Forbes illustrates the lessons learned from efforts to keep a divorce amicable even in a high-profile case. The principle that divorce remains a problem spouses must solve instead of a battle to win benefits both sides. Collaboration and mediation reduce the financial and emotional consequences of more adversarial contests.
In collaboration, a team works to avoid court and to solve the problem amongst themselves. Team members will include attorneys, but could also involve mental health professionals and financial specialists. The main goal focuses on achieving a settlement that is acceptable to both spouses.