Collaborative Divorce / Collaborative Practice

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Many couples find the no-court process of Collaborative Practice, also known as Collaborative Law or Collaborative Divorce, a welcome alternative to the often destructive, uncomfortable aspects of conventional divorce. Collaborative Practice reduces acrimony, promotes respect and keeps parties, not the courts, in control of the process. It enables the parties to resolve their case without fear of litigation, and maintain respect and dignity for each other.

A Different Way To Resolve Conflict

Going through a legal conflict such as divorce doesn't automatically mean having to endure the turmoil and trauma that is often associated with it. You now have another choice: Collaborative Practice. Developed as an alternative to traditional divorce, Collaborative Practice is an option for divorcing couples to resolve disputes respectfully without going to court. It offers couples a humane, solutions-based approach to resolving the conflicts and challenges associated with ending a relationship.

Collaborative Practice differs from the traditional litigation process because collaboration promotes respect and keeps control of the process and the outcome with the parties, not judges and lawyers. Because clients agree not to go to court, the process is more open and less adversarial. The goal is to enhance communication and mutual understanding throughout the process and to lay the foundation for a healthier relationship during, and after, the resolution of the dispute.

Collaborative Practice is based on three basic principles:

  • The parties pledge in writing not to go to court.
  • Both parties engage in an honest exchange of information.
  • Each solution takes into account the highest priorities of the parties and other related persons, such as children or other family members.

How Does Collaborative Practice Work?

The goal of collaborative practice is to come to a mutually acceptable, negotiated settlement between the parties without the fear or threat of going to court. In this practice, each of the parties retains their own collaborative attorney who will gather information, provide education on rights, responsibilities and options, and negotiate on their behalf.

At the center of collaborative practice are the needs of the entire family, especially those of the children. With collaborative practice, conflict is kept to a minimum so all family members can move on positively with their lives.

Collaborative practice is a good choice when each party prefers to have his or her own independent attorney guide them through the legal process. If the participants ultimately are unable to agree, the collaborative attorneys withdraw and litigation attorneys can be retained to take the matter to court.

The Collaborative Team-Centered Around You

Unique to Collaborative Practice is the availability of other professional team members to help the client move through the collaborative process in a positive fashion. Mental health counselors assist as divorce coaches in developing communication and listening tools and to help manage difficult emotions that arise during the process. Child specialists work to assure that the children’s needs are understood by the parent and to aid the parents in creating a parenting plan that works best for the children. Financial specialists help gather and analyze financial and valuation information in a neutral manner. Vocational consultants provide information regarding training, education and employment opportunities.

Benefits of Collaborative Practice

  • You and your spouse or partner retain control over the outcome. Decision making is directly in the hands of the parties involved in the dispute rather than the hands of a third party.
  • The process is better for your children. Children are given a voice in the process, alleviating potential trauma that sometimes lasts for generations.
  • You enjoy confidentiality. Sensitive personal issues and detailed financial information are kept private and out of the court files and the public eye.
  • Solutions are mutually beneficial. The collaborative process recognizes and understands each client's needs, interests concerns and goals, while allowing all parties to be heard throughout the duration of the process.
  • Focus on the future. Collaboration changes the notion of a legal conflict from adversarial and win/lose to a problem-solving, constructive process.
  • The parties control the cost of the process. Litigation is expensive, and much of the cost is determined by the dictates of litigation process. In collaboration, experts and specialists are jointly retained, avoiding duplication of costs. The parties—not the courts or the lawyers—determine what work is needed and how it will be paid for, retaining control over the expenses.

More Information on Collaborative Practice

For more information on Collaborative Practice see the Collaborative Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) or visit the websites for Central Valley Collaborative Law Affiliates at and the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals at, or feel free to contact our office to discuss further.