Collaborative Family Law differs from other models of alternative dispute resolution processes in that everyone involved (including the lawyers and other professionals in a team) has committed to the same outcome as the clients—i.e. resolving family disputes by working together in a team environment and without going to court.

Unlike traditional mediation or negotiation, where the threat of litigation always exists, the parties and all the professionals in a collaborative law process commits under a written agreement at the very outset to work in a collaborative manner from beginning to end and should either party choose to abandon the collaborative law process and go to court, the lawyers involved are no longer able to continue to represent the parties in court. In other words, there are no benefits to the lawyers involved to go to court. Collaborative Family Law aims to create a true settlement that reflects the positive interests of the parties, rather than what they are willing to compromise when faced with the threat of litigation.