Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Uniform Collaborative Law Act

As the Family Law Prof Blog recently pointed out, one more major step has been taken to anchor Collaborative Law into our legal system. The Uniform Law Commission voted on July 15, 2009 to adopt the Uniform Collaborative Law Act. The U.L.C. is a national organization that studies selected legal issues, drafts proposed statutes, debates the proposals and then adopts or turns down the proposed acts. After a little fine tuning, the adopted act is sent to the American Bar Association which is asked to endorse it. If that happens, the act is latter submitted to the state legislatures for them to consider adopting it in each state.

In Texas, the proposed new uniform law will make very little difference. We were the first state to pass a statute that defined Collaborative Law and explained how it would work. A few other states have passed similar statutes. Coincidentally, Harry Tindall of Houston was one of the leaders in getting the Uniform Law Commission to approve the new act, just as he was the leader of the effort to get the original Texas statute passed by the legislature. We all owe a lot to Harry for his leadership and hard work.

The real importance of the the new uniform act is that there is now a common approach to the process which should be presented to all the states that don't yet have a Collaborative Law statute. This adds a little more legitimacy for the process and boosts the chances of other states formally acknowledging the process. Hopefully, another result will be more public awareness and more people taking advantage of the opportunity to take a more civilized and effective approach to settling disputes.