The Uniform Law Commission, established in 1892, provides states with non-partisan, well conceived, and well drafted legislation that brings clarity and stability to critical areas of state statutory law. Following extensive research, in early 2007, the Commission determined that it would be appropriate to codify the collaborative dispute resolution process, and established a drafting committee to draft a Uniform Collaborative Law Act. Larry Maxwell, GCLC’s co-founder, past president and current Executive Director served as the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution’s Advisor to the UCLA Drafting Committee.
In July 2009, at its Annual Meeting in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the Commission by a unanimous vote approved the Uniform Collaborative Law Act. Following approval of the UCLA, the ABA Collaborative Law Committee prepared an Executive Summary of the Uniform Collaborative Law Act which provides a section by section analysis of the July 2009 Act.
In February 2010, the Commission, as is its custom, submitted the UCLA to the ABA House of Delegates for approval at the ABA Mid-Year Meeting in Orlando, Florida. The UCLA was supported by several ABA entities, including the Sections of Dispute Resolution, Individual Rights & Responsibilities, Family Law Section and many delegates. In view of certain objections voiced by the ABA Litigation Section and other groups, the Commission in consultation with proponents of the Act, decided to withdraw the Act from consideration by the ABA at that time.
In March 2010, in an effort to meet the objections that had been raised at the February ABA Mid-Year, the UCLA Drafting Committee reconvened and made several revisions and additions to the Act.
- The Committee drafted Court Rules which mirror the statute, giving states options to enact the statute, or adopt Court Rules, or a combination thereof.
- The definition of “collaborative matter” in Section 1 of the Act was modified to create an Alternate A which limits the Act / Rules to “matters” which arise under family laws of a state; and, Alternate B, which places no limitation on matters that will be covered by the Act / Rules.
- The Committee modified the automatic stay of court proceedings in Section 6 of the Act to provide that notice to a tribunal that parties are proceeding in the collaborative process is an application for a stay, rather than an automatic stay, as provided in the original 2009 Act.
The revisions and the addition of the Court Rules were unanimously approved by the Uniform Law Commission in October 2010, and the UCLA / UCLR, as amended became available for introduction in state legislatures. Following approval of the UCLA / Rules, the ABA Collaborative Law Committee prepared an Updated Executive Summary of the Uniform Collaborative Law Act and Uniform Collaborative Law Rules, which provides a section by section analysis of the Act / Rules.
In February 2011, the Commission resubmitted the UCLA /UCLR at the ABA Mid-Year meeting for approval by the House of Delegates. Due to the continued opposition of the Litigation Section and other ABA entities, the House of Delegates did not approve the UCLA / UCLR.
Following the ABA meeting, the leadership of the Uniform Law Commission made a statement strongly supporting the UCLA / UCLR and indicated that the Commission intended to vigorously pursue enactment in all jurisdictions.
The original 2009 UCLA, the amended 2010 UCLA / UCLR, a history of the drafting process, introductions and enactments by states and a Legislative Information Kit and Bill Tracking information are available on the website of the Uniform Law Commission.
As of December 31, 2016, sixteen jurisdictions have enacted the statute, adopted court rules, or a combination thereof:
2010: Utah: Utah Code Ann. § 78B-19-101 (statute, no limit as to scope)
2011: Texas: Tex. Family Code Ann. § 15.051 (statute, family law)
2012: Hawaii: Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 658G-1 (statute, no limit as to scope)
District of Columbia: D.C. Code § 16-4001 (statute, family law)
2013: Nevada: Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 38.400 (statute, no limit as to scope)
Ohio: Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3105.54 (statute, family law)
Washington: Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §7.77.010 (statute, no limit as to scope)
2014: Alabama: Ala. Code § 6-6-26 (statute, family and family related matters; rules to be adopted)
Maryland: Md. Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 3-2015 (statute and rules, no
limit as to scope)
2015: Arizona: Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 67.1 (court rules, family law)
Michigan: Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 691.1331 (statute, family law)
Montana: Mont. Code Ann. § 25-40-101 (statute, no limit as to scope)
New Jersey: N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2A:23D-1 (statute, family law)
2016: Florida: Fla. Stat. Ann. § 61.55 (statute, family law, rules adopted in 2017)
New Mexico: N.M. R. Civ. P. Dist. Ct. § 1-054 (court rules, family law)
North Dakota: N.D. Cent. Code Ann. § 8.10 (court rules, no limit as to scope)