What Is Collaborative Divorce?

Collaborative divorce is an alternative to litigation that is designed to address divorce and family law issues in a respectful and equitable way. Like mediation and arbitration, collaborative divorce resolves family disputes outside of the court system. The goal of the collaborative process is to reach a fair settlement that meets both parties’ needs and the needs of their children without the pressure and uncertainties which accompany litigation.

Collaborative practice is different from other approaches to divorce. Instead of increasing hostility through the adversarial process, collaborative divorce promotes respect and enables both spouses to maintain control over the divorce process. The parties and their attorneys work together in a cooperative atmosphere to address each couple’s unique concerns and to advance their interests without the often arbitrary, one size fits all, resolutions available through the Court


With a collaborative approach, each party selects an attorney of their own choosing and commits to working outside of the court system to develop a settlement. Because the clients agree not to go to court, the process itself can be more open and less adversarial. The lawyers are used in a much more focused way in their capacity as problem solvers and knowledgeable divorce professionals. The goal is to enhance communication throughout the process and lay the groundwork for a healthier post-divorce relationship between the parties.

Unlike a litigated divorce, a collaborative divorce gives the parties control of when, where, how often and how long they need to meet for each negotiation session. In addition, the collaborative divorce professionals are always looking for a way to advance both parties’ interests in a mutually beneficial way. The win-lose mentality of litigating in Court is dispensed with, in favor of a collaborative team working with each other, not against each other, to craft a mutually beneficial solution. Often, the first step of the process is to create a framework for effective communication that enables the building of a fair settlement framework and the trust needed for both parties to commit to that settlement.

Depending on the complexity of your case, our collaborative professionals can put together a team of experts to address unique issues and specialized concerns. Our members include not only attorneys, but mental health professionals, child specialists, divorce coaches, accountants, mortgage bankers, financial planners and other financial professionals. If the issues in your case warrant it, and you desire the assistance, our group can serve as a strong source of reliable, expert information to assist you and your spouse in making divorce decisions for yourselves and your children.

Collaborative practice is designed to be civilized, sophisticated, creative and respectful. It is for parties wishing to find a solution to their separation rather than assign blame. It is for parents who need and desire to find a way to co-parent their children despite their separation, and to minimize the negative impact of divorce on their children. It is for people who prefer to be in control of their divorce outcome, rather than letting a judge decide. It is for people who place value on a working post-divorce relationship with their spouse and who value quality of life over quantity of resources. Lastly, it is for those who value privacy; couples in collaborative divorce are spared the airing of their dirty laundry in open court for all to see.

What Are The Benefits?

A Collaborative divorce can give children a voice in the process, alleviating the potential of future trauma that sometimes persists for generations. Collaborative divorce keeps assets and personal problems private. It aims at improving communication between parties, keeping control of the divorce process in the hands of the parties and promoting respect and healthier long term communications.

By avoiding costly litigation, collaborative divorce preserves more of the family’s finances for the future. Respectful relationships between the parties can also be preserved. And, perhaps, most important, children do not become pawns in the divorce or subject to the stress of ongoing legal proceedings.

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