About Collaborative Practice
Also called “no-court divorce,” “divorce with dignity,” “peaceful divorce”
Collaborative Practice, including Collaborative Law and interdisciplinary Collaborative Divorce, is a new way to resolve disputes respectfully–without going to court–by working with professionals who are trained in areas important to your life. The term “Collaborative Practice” incorporates all of the models developed since IACP’s attorney Stu Webb developed Collaborative Law ideas in the 1980s.
The heart of Collaborative Practice or Collaborative Divorce (also called “no-court divorce,” “divorce with dignity,” “peaceful divorce”) is to offer you and your spouse or partner the support, protection, and guidance of your own lawyers without going to court. Additionally, Collaborative Divorce allows you the benefit of child and financial specialists, divorce coaches and other professionals all working together on your team.
In Collaborative Practice, core elements form your contractual commitments, which are to:
- Negotiate a mutually acceptable settlement without having courts decide issues.
- Maintain open communication and information sharing.
- Create shared solutions acknowledging the highest priorities of all.
Divorce is a sensitive personal matter. No single approach is right for everyone. Many couples do find the no-court process known as Collaborative Practice (Collaborative Law/Collaborative Divorce) a welcome alternative to the often destructive, uncomfortable aspects of conventional divorce.
If these values are important to you, Collaborative Practice is likely to be a workable option for you:
- I want to maintain the tone of respect, even when we disagree.
- I want to prioritize the needs of our children.
- My needs and those of my spouse/partner require equal consideration, and I will listen objectively.
- I believe that working creatively and cooperatively solves issues.
- It is important to reach beyond today’s frustration and pain to plan for the future.
- I can behave ethically toward my spouse/partner.
- I choose to maintain control of the divorce process with my spouse/partner, and not relegate it to the courts.
Advantages of Collaborative Practice
Lower Cost: Collaborative Practice is generally less costly and time-consuming than litigation.
Client Involvement: The client is a vital part of the settlement team (consisting of both parties and both attorneys), hence clients have a greater sense of involvement in the decision-making which affects their lives.
Utilization of Interdisciplinary Team Supportive Approach: Each client is supported in a manner that allows the attorneys and all other professional members of the team to work cooperatively with one another in resolving issues.
Less Stress: The process is much less fear- and anxiety-provoking than traditional Court proceedings or the threat of such proceedings. Everyone can focus on settlement without the imminent threat of “going to Court.”
Win-Win Climate: Collaborative Practice creates a positive climate. The opportunity exists for participants to work within a climate that facilitates “win-win” settlements.
Speed: Collaborative Practice can be much less time-consuming than cases which get bogged down by lengthy discovery, hearings and court calendars.
Creativity: Collaborative Practice encourages creative solutions in resolving issues.
Clients in Charge: The non-adversarial nature of Collaborative Practice shifts decision-making into the hands of the clients where it belongs, rather than into the hands of a third party (the Court).
—From International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, www.collaborativepractice.com
Role’s of Collaborative Practice Professionals
Catherine is trained as a Collaborative Mediator, Divorce Coach, and Child Specialist.
The Collaborative process helps a divorcing couple achieve an effective resolution, while minimizing the negative consequences often associated with divorce. To accomplish this goal, different disciplines work together in a team, integrating the legal, emotional, and financial aspects of divorce.
As a participant in the process, you have made a commitment to:
- Achieve a divorce settlement without going to court.
- Fully and promptly disclose all relevant financial information.
- Devote adequate time for participation in the process.
- Resolve issues in an atmosphere of honesty, cooperation, and integrity.
The composition of your Collaborative team will be structured to meet your needs. Members of your Collaborative team will assist you by performing some or all of the functions listed below.
The Collaborative Mediator
The Collaborative mediator is a neutral facilitator, who:
- Helps the parties identify the issues they will work on during team meetings.
- Facilitates communication during team meetings.
- Helps the parties and attorneys decide which participants to add to the Collaborative team.
- Serves as a case manager, often essential to keeping the process moving forward toward resolution.
- Drafts the settlement agreement.
The Collaborative Divorce Coach
Each Collaborative divorce coach is a licensed mental health professional. Each coach will help one member of the couple:
- Navigate the emotional aspects of divorce.
- Identify and prioritize the client’s concerns.
- Improve communication skills to minimize misunderstandings.
- Improve conflict resolution skills.
- Develop effective co-parenting skills.
- Participate as an effective member of the team.
The Child Specialist
The Collaborative divorce child specialist is a licensed mental health professional. The child specialist is a neutral member of the team who helps the parents:
- Focus on the needs of each child.
- Hear the concerns of each child, bringing the child’s voice into the process.
- Understand age-appropriate developmental issues, and how these will change over time.
- Explore options for appropriate parenting plans.
- Be effective co-parents.
The child specialist may also provide children with support and information about the divorce process.