Washington Uniform Collaborative Law Act
The Uniform Collaborative Law Act (UCLA) establishes collaborative law as an alternative means of resolving divorce or family law disputes without the intervention of the court. This process is distinguishable from other forms of alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation and arbitration, as well as from the traditionally adversarial court process. Washington was the seventh state to enact the UCLA in 2013.
When the Uniform Collaborative Law Takes Effect
In order to trigger application of the UCLA, both parties must sign a participation agreement. At this point, all existing court proceedings stop. The Court may set a status hearing to verify that the process is continuing, but it may not inquire further. Each party has his or her own collaborative lawyer to help facilitate the negotiation of agreements in the case. Both parties must disclose all information that is necessary to resolve the divorce or family law proceeding without the need for formal discovery requests. All communications during the collaborative law process are confidential to the extent that the parties agree or as provided by state law.
Collaborative law is a completely voluntary process. If one party wants to terminate the collaborative law process at any time, he or she is free to do so without being required to disclose any reason for the termination. If the process terminates, then the collaborative lawyers involved are generally disqualified from further representing the parties in court proceedings.
How An Experienced Attorney Can Help
Divorce is never easy, especially if you are emotional and are not always thinking clearly. During times like these, it is hard to make the decisions that are truly best for you and your family, particularly when it comes to important issues like child custody, visitation, and child support. It is in these kinds of cases that an experienced divorce lawyer can be most useful to you and truly make a difference in the outcome of your case.