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Mr. Shankar is certified as a collaborative family law practitioner. He’s a member of both the London Middlesex and Bruce Grey Collaborative family law practices.

Collaborative family law practice is an extension of the work that Mr. Shankar has been anyway doing in family law by seeking to work together with other professionals to reach a nonlitigious settlement for clients. Bringing the collaborative element into this makes it more formal and clearer for parties wishing to use collaborative practice as a means to resolve many of their intractable differences related to custody, access, property issues and financial equalization.

Shaking Hands

What is Collaborative Law?

Collaborative Practice is a voluntary process in which parties settle disputes without resort to litigation.

  1. The parties sign a collaborative participation agreement describing the nature and scope of the matter;

  2. The parties voluntarily disclose all information which is relevant and material to the matter that must be decided;

  3. The parties agree to use good faith efforts in their negotiations to reach a mutually acceptable settlement;

  4. Each party must be represented by a lawyer whose representation terminates upon the undertaking of any contested court proceeding;

  5. The parties may engage mental health professionals, communication and family professionals and financial professionals whose engagement terminates upon the undertaking of any contested court proceeding; and

  6. The parties may jointly engage other experts as needed.

Collaborative Practice provides you and your spouse or partner with the support and guidance of your own lawyers without going to court. Additionally, Collaborative Practice allows you the benefit of divorce coaches, child and financial specialists all working together with you on your team.

In Collaborative Practice, each person, including professionals, commits to:

  • Negotiate a mutually acceptable resolution without having courts decide issues.

  • Maintain open communication and information sharing.

  • Create shared solutions acknowledging the highest priorities of all.

Collaborative Practice is a new way for you to resolve disputes respectfully—without going to court—while working with trained professionals who are important to all areas of your life. The term incorporates all of the models developed since IACP’s Minnesota lawyer Stu Webb created Collaborative Law ideas in the 1980s. 

The heart of Collaborative Practice is to offer you and your spouse or partner the support, protection, and guidance of your own lawyers without going to court. Additionally, Collaborative Practice allows you the benefit of child and financial specialists, divorce coaches and other professionals all working together on your team.

In Collaborative Practice, core elements form your contractual commitments, which are to: Negotiate a mutually acceptable settlement without having courts decide issues. Maintain open communication and information sharing. Create shared solutions acknowledging the highest priorities of all.

The emotional foundation of collaborative practice:

The end of a marriage or relationship can be tragic enough. Often, the process of divorcing only adds to the pain. You and your spouse or partner may come to see each other as adversaries and the divorce as a battleground. You may experience feelings of confusion, anger, loss and conflict. Under such circumstances, you might find it difficult to see an end to divorce, much less imagine a hopeful future afterwards. But it doesn't have to be this way. A growing number of parting couples, along with other professionals such as lawyers, mental health professionals and financial specialists,have been seeking a more constructive alternative. 

These professionals have developed the Collaborative Practice model.

Collaborative Practice is a reasonable approach to divorce based on three principles: 

  1. A pledge not to go to court

  2. An honest exchange of information by both spouses

  3. A solution that takes into account the highest priorities of both adults and their children

Mutual respect is fundamental to the collaborative way. You may cease being spouses, but you don't cease being worthy human beings. When respect is given and received, discussions are likely to be more productive and an agreement reached more easily. 


The key difference between Collaborative Practice and conventional divorce is the pledge to reach an agreement before going to court. You and your spouse keep control of the decisions yourselves, rather than giving it up to a judge. In order to accomplish that, all of the parties consent in writing to be part of a respectful process that leads to an out-of-courtresolution. With Collaborative Practice, the goal is to develop effective relationships, solveproblems jointly, and prevent a court battle.

Going through divorce or separation can make you feel isolated and alone, unsure of where to turn for support and advice. Unlike conventional legal process, Collaborative Practice offers you a team of skilled and compassionate professionals. Each expert in their own fields, the team members help you manage the many aspects of divorce—the legal issues, the emotional turmoil, the concerns for children and the financial and property questions. With such support you'll feel more in control of the process itself, and better equipped to begin a new life afterwards.

As you review the roles of your various team members, be sure to choose team members with special training in Collaborative Practice.



Though Collaborative Practice seeks to avoid going to court, the settlement is still a legal agreement. Therefore, it is essential that a lawyer be involved to advise you on all matters of law, from child custody and support to maintenance agreements to financial settlements and property distribution. Collaborative lawyers have made a commitment to the unique practice of the collaborative model.



Divorce is a major life transition; while it marks the end of one part of your life, it is also the beginning of another. A mental health professional helps you manage the pain and strain of changing relationships, while focusing on goals for the present and the future. Working with you to make the most of your strengths, your mental health professional assists you in being at your best during the divorce process, then taking positive steps to a new life.



The divorce settlement will in part determine your financial well-being for many years to come. It is critical that it be soundly structured, especially if your spouse assumed more responsibility for your family's finances. The guidance of a financial specialist will help protect your interests. Reviewing all assets and incomes, the financial specialist will assist you in analyzing viable financial options for your future. Evaluating the choices, you and your lawyer can then construct a comprehensive plan for the next stage of your life.



Children may suffer most from divorce, and be least able to understand or express their feelings. Their world is being turned upside down in ways that they cannot begin to comprehend. Communication with parents may be difficult, if not impossible. A goal of Collaborative Practice is to assure that children are a priority, not a casualty. The child specialist, an individual skilled in understanding children, will meet with your children privately, assisting them in expressing their feelings and concerns about the divorce. Encouraging children to think creatively about the future, the child specialist then communicates their feelings, concerns and hopes to the team to consider when planning for the children's lives.

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