Collaborative Family Law

Collaborative Family Law, or CFL, is an alternative approach to family law disputes, including divorce. The objective of CFL is to resolve family law disputes without adversarial actions or court proceedings. The clients and their lawyers agree to resolve conflict using cooperative strategies which benefit everyone involved.

They work with their lawyers to reach an agreement which will not leave either party feeling like a loser or a winner. In a Collaborative Family Law case, the parties and lawyers specifically agree that they will not participate in court proceedings. In fact CFL lawyers will withdraw should court be necessary. Clients attend settlement meetings with their lawyers and sometimes with other professionals who can provide assistance (accountants, parenting counsellors, etc). The goal of CFL is to reach a final settlement at a reasonable cost with the minimum of stress to parents and children.

CFL was started in 1990 by an American attorney named Stu Webb. Since then, this novel approach has grown throughout Canada and the United States. Today, in some Canadian communities, the majority of lawyers practise collaborative family law.

Dan Killoran is a founding member of the Practising Panel of the Collaborative Family Law Network here in Ottawa. For more information on CFL, contact Dan or link to the CFL website at