Our Collaborative Process… A More Peaceful Way to Divorce

Divorce lawyer smiles at a couple from across his desk
Divorce lawyer smiles at a couple from across his desk

The Collaborative Divorce Process is a respectful, peaceful and dignified process that is designed to ensure that the participants and their children successfully transition to the next chapter of their lives.  In the Collaborative Process, the clients retain maximum control over the outcome of their case, as opposed to turning over the decision-making to a judge who does not have intimate knowledge of their particular family.

All of our members are committed to the Collaborative Process, a non-adversarial approach designed to resolve family law conflicts in a mutually-beneficial manner.  Collaborative attorneys are specialists in settling disputes.  Clients and professionals work together respectfully, and in good faith, to gather the information needed to reach an agreement.  The goal is to achieve a “win/win” outcome for all participants.

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

The clients, through their collaborative attorneys agree to voluntarily provide necessary documents and information early in the process which serves to drastically reduce the cost of the formal discovery that is often a hallmark of litigated divorces.  Full disclosure and open communication at every stage of the Collaborative Process facilitates a faster and more satisfying resolution than if the matter had been litigated in court.

A settlement that meets the approval of both clients can then be fashioned and memorialized in a written agreement that is filed with the court.  This method of collaboratively handling conflict is designed to minimize hostility, and to foster a more cordial relationship in the future.

The guiding principles of the Collaborative Process are particularly well-suited to issues of family law and divorce.  All clients and Collaborative Professionals agree at the outset that the case will not be litigated, 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 resolve the case through the traditional court system.  Even in these cases, useful groundwork will have been laid for a more effective way for clients to work cooperatively, and to resolve their differences in the future.