Collaborative Practice

What is Collaborative Practice?

Collaborative Practice is a consensual dispute resolution process in which parties settle legal conflicts without litigation. 

In Collaborative Practice, the parties sign a collaborative participation agreement describing the nature and scope of the matter, and agree to voluntarily disclose all information which is relevant and material to the issues to be resolved.  Communications made during the collaborative process are, by agreement and by law, privileged from disclosure in discovery or as evidence in a court of law or other tribunal.  The parties agree to use good faith efforts in their negotiations to reach a mutually acceptable settlement.  Each party is represented by a lawyer whose representation terminates upon the undertaking of any contested court proceeding; and the parties may engage mental health and neutral financial professionals whose engagement also terminates upon the undertaking of any contested court proceeding. 

What are the core elements of Collaborative Practice?

In Collaborative Practice, core elements form the parties’ commitments to this process, which are 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.

Are there laws governing Collaborative Practice in Alabama?

Yes. On January 1, 2014, the Uniform Collaborative Law Act went into effect in Alabama.  Ala. Code 1975 §§ 6-6-26.1-26.21 (2014).  On February 9, 2015, the Alabama Supreme Court enacted the procedural rules which keep collaborative communications confidential. Ala. R. Priv. in Coll. L. Prac. 1-4.

How is Collaborative Practice different from mediation?

Collaborative Practice is similar to mediation in that both focus on information gathering, goal identification, and option development before solution.  Both use interest based approaches to negotiation, and see client self-determination as a guiding principle.  Both rely heavily on active listening, reframing, and emotional acknowledgements.

However, despite the similarities, Collaborative Practice differs from Mediation in several key aspects.  Collaborative Practice has an express contract provision which requires full disclosure, and makes the collaborative professionals the guardians of the process.  Collaborative Practice prohibits simultaneous litigation, an aspect which affects the leverage, options and type of discussion present in the process.  Indeed, it completely aligns the clients’ interests and the lawyers’ interest in resolving the matter.  Collaborative involves the inclusion of other collaboratively trained professionals, who are instrumental in dealing with communication, mental health and emotional issues.  By using a team approach to manage conflict and achieve resolution, Collaborative engages the professionals with the appropriate skills needed to work through the issues presented by a particular conflict – legal issues are handled by lawyers, financial issues by neutral financial experts, and emotional issues are dealt with by the mental health professionals.

Where can I find a Collaborative Practice Professional?

You can find a list of professionals practicing in Alabama on the website of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals ( or through Birmingham Collaborative Alliance (



More ADR Home 

Collaborative Practice

Peer Mediation

Restorative Justice

State Agency ADR


Private Judges

The Alabama Private Judge Act authorized the appointment of former or retired judges to serve as private judges in certain district and circuit court cases. - More -


Arbitration agreements, are often found in pre-printed consumer contracts. They require parties to the contract to resolve disputes in binding arbitration, rather than in court before a judge and/or jury. - More -


Mediation is a confidential, informal process during which an impartial third party, the mediator, assists disputing parties in reaching a mutually acceptable agreement regarding their dispute.

  • General Mediation offers a path to resolving many disputes. - More -
  • Family Mediation offers divorce and family mediation for parenting, divorce and post-divorce issues. - More -
  • Forclosure Prevention and Mortgage Modification Mediation offers specially-trained mediators to assist Alabama citizens with foreclosure and mortgage problems by mediating between the homeowner and the mortgage holder. - More -

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Alabama CDR is the state office of dispute resolution. At the Center, we work with the courts, the Alabama State Bar, state agencies, schools, community mediation initiatives, and businesses to promote early and peaceful resolution of disputes. We are the administrative arm of the Alabama Supreme Court Commission on Dispute Resolution.


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