Collaborative Divorce

The collaborative divorce process was born out of a desire and intention to help families reduce, and potentially avoid, the financial and emotional upheaval often experienced by people getting divorced using process options like litigation and mediation. Unlike litigation, and mediation, the attorneys are invested in helping the clients come to mutually agreeable settlements because they sign a participation agreement, which binds them exclusively to the collaborative process.

Attorney’s have come to recognize that divorce is not only a legal and financial process but also an emotional one too. The Collaborative divorce process is a more comprehensive, multidisciplinary and supportive option available to guide your divorce in a way that is more respectful, caring, and considerate of these factors. It involves using two attorney’s (one for each spouse), a Neutral Facilitator (often a mental health professional) and a Neutral Financial Professional working as a team.

There are times where other professionals may be included in the process for their expert knowledge and skill set in addressing complex issues pertaining to a family’s needs. These can be child specialists, mental health therapists, parenting coordinators, mediators, forensic accountants etc. The ultimate goal of the collaboratively trained professional team is to support the spouses in achieving mutually acceptable resolutions.

The core elements of a Collaborative Divorce Process include:

  • Negotiating a mutually acceptable resolution without having the courts decide issues.
  • Maintaining open communication and information sharing.
  • Creating shared solutions that acknowledge the highest priorities of all.

The benefits of this process are numerous including:

  • The interests of each client are the driving force and the focus in team meetings and the clients can make decisions based on what they believe is fair, despite what the law says.
  • No records are made public throughout the process except the final marital settlement agreement providing ultimate privacy for the spouses involved.
  • Enhanced efficiency of the process as a result of the neutral facilitator taking over many administrative and process functions allowing the other team professionals to focus on their specialty.
  • Enhanced potential for better co-parenting relationships once the divorce is final because of the communication and conflict resolution skills used in the process
  • Divorce process is not based on the timeline of the courthouse.

The Collaborative Divorce process was recently adopted into legislation as an approved and identified alternative dispute resolution option for spouses looking to dissolve their marriage.

If you are unsure how to navigate the divorce process and want to come in together or individually, I am here to help answer your questions about the the process options available to you and the differences I have observed.

Collaborative Facilitator

As a Neutral Facilitator with a background in mental health, I bring a specific set of skills to the collaborative process that helps to manage conflict, improve communication, and facilitate the identification of differing perspectives and interests to be known, understood, and included in the decision making process of the spouses.  Within the framework of family disagreements the interests of the children become the priority.  My role is to facilitate the communication of the team, facilitate the team meeting, help maintain the structure and process of the team meetings and support the clients in resolving conflict as they arise.

The benefits of having a neutral facilitator in the collaborative process include:

  • Facilitating communication in a way that creates an environment of safety which enables better decision making and a potential for the spouses to communicate more effectively after the process is over.
  • The ability to identify, and manage conflict when it arises.
  • Ensuring a balanced process that prevents attorneys or spouses from taking over and therefore maintaining a sense of mutual respect.
  • Enhancing the efficiency of the divorce process by:
    • Developing agendas for every meeting.
    • Helping the team to stay on time and on track within the team meetings and outside the meetings.
    • Taking over tasks of communication and coordination, which allows the professionals to focus their time and efforts on their speciality.

If you have questions about the collaborative process and want to know more about how this divorce process can help you navigate your divorce, call me!  I will be happy to explain this process further, and how I or other professionals can help you.

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“Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.”
― James Cash Penney