World of Collaborative Practice > Collaborative Practice: Not Part of the ‘Adversarial System’

Posted on August 15, 2013


From Maury White, Esq.:

The OCFLA[1] was originally conceived in 2007, by members of a Collaborative Law sub-committee of a Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Alternative Dispute Resolution for Children and Families. Five (5) years later, the 129th General Assembly passed the Ohio Collaborative Family Law Act (OCFLA), effective on March 22, 2013.[2] In so doing, the legislature provided Ohio families with a common sense approach to avoiding antagonistic and costly divorce litigation. The legislature saw fit to codify what is commonly known as Collaborative Practice[3] and added this contractually-based, voluntary method for solving family law issues, to Ohio’s existing portfolio of alternative dispute resolution processes. The OCFLA joined the previously enacted Uniform Arbitration Act[4] and the Uniform Mediation Act[5] as the three (3) alternatives to litigation for families facing end-of-marriage and child-related legal issues. Each of the four (4) methods (litigation, arbitration, mediation and now, collaboration) has distinct characteristics, and lawyers have a vital, yet varying, role in each process. The public, and the legal profession, are in need of clarity regarding these roles. This responsibility now falls to the Ohio Supreme Court.

At its core, the OCFLA is based upon three (3) foundations: (a) limited representation by the two attorneys hired by the husband and wife to serve as collaborative lawyers; (b) full and voluntary disclosure of all material information; and, (c) testimonial privilege for all participants in the event of impasse and termination of the process. ORC 3105.47 reiterates that the professional responsibility obligations and standards applicable to lawyers are not affected by the OCFLA.

Read more at World of Collaborative Practice.