What is Collaborative Divorce?

Fair, Private and Respectful

The Collaborative Divorce model was developed in the early 1990s by attorneys, mental health professionals and financial planning experts whose experience with traditional divorce led them to the conclusion that family law litigation is injurious to families and especially to children. These experienced family law professionals were certain they could develop a healthier way to help families through divorce. The Collaborative Divorce model has grown rapidly throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and elsewhere because it has proven to be a healthier, more humane way to avoid the negative results of the adversarial divorce process.

All of our member groups are committed to the Collaborative Process, an approach to solving problems by reaching mutually agreeable solutions. Clients and professionals work together, respectfully and in good faith, to gather the information needed to reach an agreement. The goal is a win/win situation for all participants.

Typically, clients and professionals meet together to plan for information gathering, make interim arrangements, and discuss issues. A team will be assembled based on the participants’ needs and can include attorneys, communications coaches and child specialists (both roles are filled by mental health specialists), financial experts, and other professionals as needed. Information gathered will be shared with the other clients and team members in order to clarify each participant’s interests and stimulate ideas for possible solutions. All communications made during the Collaborative Process will remain confidential and will not be used as evidence if the case later goes to court.

A settlement which meets the approval of all clients can then be fashioned. This method of handling conflict is designed to minimize hostility and allow the participants the possibility of a cordial relationship in the future.

No matter the type of legal concern where the Collaborative Process is applied, its guiding principles remain the same. All clients and Collaborative professionals agree at the outset that the case will be settled, not contested. If the case cannot be settled, the attorneys and other professionals must withdraw, and the attorneys will assist the participants in finding new attorneys to help them settle the case through the traditional court system. Even in these cases, some groundwork will have been laid for a more effective way of clients working together and resolving their differences in the future