For individuals who are looking to resolve their divorce or family law matter collaboratively, many are likely to discover that there are various collaborative practice groups out there. Many are not sure what a collaborative practice group even is? For that matter, many do not even understand what collaborative practice offers as a method of alternative dispute resolution.

Once people understand the collaborative process, many might ask how a practice group is formed. They might wonder what types of professionals can be part of a practice group. They might even wonder how a practice group differs from a law firm. These are all common questions.

According to the website of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (“IACP”), a practice group is this:

“A Practice Group is an association of two or more professionals who have come together for purposes of enhancing their skills and understanding of Collaborative Practice, educating the public and promoting the use of the Collaborative process. Practice Groups are typically comprised of professionals who work the same geographic region and may be organized as formal legal entities or more loosely as professional associations. A law firm is not considered a Practice Group.”

Collaborative practice groups are also made up a diverse group of professionals from lawyers, mental health and finance professionals. If you look at the IACP webpage, you can find that there are numerous practice groups around the United States. The reality is that the movement to make collaborative practice more prominent is really gaining steam nationwide.

The reasons for the rise of collaborative practice make a whole lot of sense. With divorce rates near fifty-percent and out-of-wedlock birth rates near forty-percent nationwide, family court dockets are often backed up.

Who would also want to put the outcome of their divorce or family law matter in the hands of one judge if that could be avoided? Certainly it makes sense for many to at least try collaborative practice before litigating their case in court.

It is true as well that while many try mediation, resolving a divorce or family law dispute with one mediator is not necessarily easy. If folks can settle in mediation, that is certainly a positive. But with complex financial issues or disputes involving the children, settlement in mediation can often be easier said than done. That’s where the assistance of various professionals can be very helpful to parties who want to settle.

This is why there is likely to be an increase in practice groups nationwide as more individuals learn and become aware about collaborative practice. Within a practice group, individuals who are going through a divorce or family law matter can get the help from professionals with various backgrounds. The rise of collaborative practice groups is certainly a trend worth watching.