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Collaborative law is a variety of alternative dispute resolution, used most commonly in the context of divorce, that 'provides for an advance agreement entered into by the parties and the lawyers in their individual capacities, under which the lawyers commit to terminate their representations in the event the settlement process is unsuccessful and the matter proceeds to litigation.' Stephanie Smith and Janet Martinez, An Analytic Framework for Dispute System Design, 14 HARV. NEGOT. L. REV. 123, 166 (2009). Developed in Minnesota in 1990, collaborative law attempts to foster an amiable rather than an adversarial atmosphere by creating a 'four-way' agreement between each party and their attorneys 'in which all are expected to participate actively.' John Lande and Gregg Herman, Fitting the Forum to the Family Fuss, 42 FAM. CT. REV. 280, 283 (2004).


The presence of a disqualification agreement is widely held to be the minimum qualification for calling a practice collaborative law. Id.; see also Pauline Tesler, Collaborative Law: Achieving Effective Resolution in Divorce Without Litigation 5-6 (American Bar Association 2008) ('There is really only one irreducible minimum condition for calling what you do 'collaborative law': you and the counsel for the other party must sign papers ...

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