We have a wealth of experience as Charlotte Collaborative Law Attorneys and can guide you through the entire legal process. Please contact us if you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation. We are happy to provide more details on Collaborative Law below:
- Collaborative law is a means of dispute resolution whereby the parties and their attorneys agree to work together to resolve the outstanding issues without involving or threatening adversarial litigation.
- North Carolina General Statutes §50-70 recognizes collaborative law as a means of resolving issues as an alternative to a court proceeding.
A collaborative law agreement must be in writing and signed by all the parties to the agreement and their attorneys and include provisions for the withdrawal of all attorneys involved in the collaborative law procedure if the collaborative law procedure does not result in a settlement of the dispute. N.C.G.S §50-72. Typically, with collaborative law, issues are resolved via structured meetings between the parties and their attorneys wherein options are discussed in detail and issues, often separately, are agreed upon. The parties may, by mutual agreement, use other forms of alternative dispute resolution including mediation or binding arbitration to resolve the issues in the collaborative law agreement (assuming the issues cannot be resolved in four way meetings) and the parties’ attorneys for the collaborative law proceeding may serve as counsel for any form of alternative dispute resolution pursued as part of the collaborative law agreement. N.C.G.S. §50-78.
The court is not to be notified of any collaborative law agreement entered into prior to the filing of a civil action. N.C.G.S. §50-74(a). Even after filing a court proceeding, however, collaborative law may be used as a means of resolving outstanding issues. A validly executed collaborative law agreement tolls the legal time periods applicable to court proceedings for the amount of time the collaborative law agreement is in effect. N.C.G.S. §50-73. If a civil action has been filed, notice of a collaborative law agreement, signed by the parties and their attorneys, must be filed with the court. N.C.G.S.§50-74(b). After the filing of the notice of a collaborative law agreement, the court is to take no action (including dismissal) until the court is notified in writing that the parties have either failed to reach an agreement, voluntarily dismissed the action or asked the court to enter a judgment or order to make the collaborative law settlement agreement an order of the court. N.C.G.S. §50-74(b). If the parties fail to reach an agreement via the collaborative process, either party may file a court action unless the collaborative law agreement provides that arbitration or another alternative dispute resolution must be used first; the attorneys representing the parties in the collaborative law proceeding may not represent either party in the litigation proceedings. N.C.G.S. §50-76. (All statements of the parties made during a collaborative law procedure are confidential and inadmissible in any court proceeding. N.G.G.S. §50-77(a). All communications and work product of any attorney or third party expert hired for a collaborative law procedure are privileged and inadmissible in a court proceeding except by agreement of the parties. N.C.G.S. §50-77(b)