Collaborative Separation or Divorce
The Collaborative Process is an approach to separation or divorce that helps protect the dignity and long-term interests of all family members.
This non-adversarial approach is client-centered and deals with issues that the parties themselves identify as important, whereas a court process may not. Collaboratively-trained lawyers assist their respective clients to identify key issues and to communicate constructively toward a resolution without going to Court.
The Collaborative Process can also involve additional interdisciplinary specialists who are also collaboratively trained. In such instances, the interdisciplinary professionals work together as part of the collaborative team and apply their respective areas of expertise toward the achievement of cost-saving and enduring agreements.
Within the Collaborative Process, the professionals and the parties involved commit to Working Together for Better Solutions. In order to fully support the parties in settling their issues and reaching an agreement, the lawyers, other professionals, and parties all sign a participation agreement (sample coming soon), to agree to the way they will work together. Under this agreement, the professionals are disqualified from assisting the parties in the event the matter proceeds to Court.
Given the design and ability to involve interdisciplinary specialists as needed, the Collaborative Process is uniquely able to address the needs of all parties impacted by separation or divorce and can be less time consuming, less costly and provide better long-term resolutions than other separation or divorce process options.
Why should I use the Collaborative Process when most separations and divorces are settled out of court?
Although it is true that approximately 90% of all non-collaborative family law cases are eventually settled out of court, litigation approaches are still adversarial, which differs greatly from the Collaborative Separation or Divorce Process. Even though both Collaborative and non-Collaborative approaches can lead to a settlement, as indicated below there are a number of important factors to consider when determining which separation or divorce process option to select. (Additional information can be found under the Divorce Options page)
|Adversarial Approach||Collaborative Approach|
|Adversarial-based separation/divorce is based on a ‘win/lose’ foundation. Lawyers advocate for their clients separately, aiming to get a better deal than the other party.||Collaborative separation/divorce is based on a ‘win/win’ foundation. The client’s collaboratively-trained lawyers work together with the goal of identifying the best possible agreement for their respective clients.|
|The parties communicate through their lawyers using proposals, counterproposals and ultimatums, rather than talking directly and constructively to achieve an agreement.||The separating or divorcing couple have control of the process, thus rather than their personal circumstances being determined by judges, court-based rules, protocols and schedules. Instead the clients are able to communicate directly, with guidance from their respective non-adversarial collaborative lawyers, toward the achievement of a mutually-acceptable agreement.|
|Negotiations are often limited by formulas, statutes, rules of thumb and the threat of litigation.||The collaborative team is collectively focused on ensuring that the needs, goals and legal rights of the parties involved are considered and addressed within the process.|
|Reaching a settlement may only be achieved as a last resort after considerable debate/argument, which can be stressful, time-consuming, and expensive.||The interdisciplinary expertise of the collaborative professionals can provide support and information, which in turn can assist the parties to communicate with one another in a constructive, solution-oriented manner. Emotional support and skills teaching from Divorce Coaches can lower both stress and cost by helping clients move past conflict to agreement.|
|The adversarial process can create bitterness and anger that lasts for years or forever.||The Collaborative Process can help to address and resolve upsetting and stressful feelings associated with separation/divorce towards the goal of creating a plan for a positive future. |