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Collaborative Law also known as Collaborative Divorce, is a process occurring in a safe environment that enables parties involved in a dissolution of a marriage or partnership, and any other family law or civil matters, to be represented by specially trained lawyers and other mental health and financial professionals to help them resolve their differences in a non-adversarial setting.  The process utilizes interest based negotiation and allows the parties to focus on the needs and interests of all family members.  The resulting agreement reflects a win-win for both parties.  The process operates in an environment grounded in good faith, cooperation, integrity, honesty and professional ethics.  The process enables the parties to avoid the increasing hostility caused and encouraged by litigation and collaborative law succeeds because the parties and their counsel are committed to incorporating reasonableness into achieving settlement.  Everyone, including the lawyers, are focused on creating a stable, fair, legal Agreement together.
New methods of communication and problem-solving must be achieved since during the partnership old methods have failed.  The collaborative professionals participate in separate meetings with the clients as well as joint meetings.  Each client has his or her own attorney to represent his or her interests but they try to be partners rather than adversaries in keeping the environment a safe place for each client to express his or her own desires, goals and needs without being judged by the other party.
Mental health professionals may be used to aid the clients in dealing with emotional issues, learning these new communication skills, seeing the benefit of trust-building, and coaching the clients to understand that child-related decisions must be made with each child's individual and developmental needs in mind. 
One fianancial professional assists the lawyers and the parties in obtaining all of the necessary financial information and to help design financial strategies that maximize the financial benefits for the entire family who no longer have just one household, but two. 
To maximize the potential for creative problem-solving and amicable resolution without any behind the scenes threat of court, each client contracts with his or her attorey not to engage in litigation.  There is a promise that if good-faith negotiating fails after all efforts at consensus-building are explored, or if any party fails to disclose all pertinent information, then the collaborative process ends.  Under the Collaborative contract (Participation Agreement), all communications which occur during collaborative meetings, and documents provided, as well as the use of collaborative attorneys and other professionals are precluded from participation or admissibility in any future litigation.  The collaborative attorneys must withdraw and new counsel for each party must be retained.  All professionals involved in the collaborative process are precluded from being involved in the litigation process or subpoenaed by either party. 


Collaborative Teams are a multi-disciplinary approach to helping familes make decisions related to separation and divorce.  The couple has access to a team of professionals, each specializing in a different field of expertise.  The collaborative team model uses licensed mental health professionals as coaches for the partners, child psychologists to give the children a voice in the process, and a financial specialist (such as a certified financial practitioner) as a neutral to help advise the parties on the impact of their financial decisions.  All the professionals involved have special collaborative and mediation training to help them take a holistic view of the family's needs.


         The TEAM CONCEPT   benefits the clients and the whole family by:


  • Allowing maximum input of information needed to make good decisions

Sharing knowledge is how things get done.  When people get together, interact,  and talk, they achieve results 

  • Providing an open, non-judgmental process that will accommodate changing circumstances as the family grows and changes after the divorce
  • The clients are able to see techniques to respond to anger, grief, fear and other feelings without allowing these feelings to drive the dispute-resolution process
  • Helping the clients learn to recognize, understand and accept that their feelings are present but that they should articulate their real needs and interests instead of feelings which interfere with progress


Tough problems can be solved through adaptation when impasses are reached.  This requires the clients to get outside of their past roles and to find new ways to listen and learn--to develop new ways of knowing, by partnering with the other party to help create new possibilities, compromises, and creative alternatives


  • Providing resources so clients can listen and understand the needs and goals of each other without dwelling on the past


All of the members of the team engage in coaching.  They encourage the clients to work as an integral part of the team.  Coaching is designed to create  the possibility for new and different results.  The team allows clients to question and clarify their true priorities and facilitate the parties to distill and expand their thinking about how each client must help the other meet their collective priorities together


  • Creating an atmosphere for negotiations that lets the clients retain the residual core of positive connection for those with children who will share life milestones in the future or for those without children who still might share a deep bond with the extended family of the ex-spouse or just want to be allowed to remember the value of the past and part with respect and dignity


            Creating an environent that fosters feelings of human decency and self respect


Clients often leave the collaborative process having learned how to compromise, how to see the needs of others, experience success, learn new problem-solving techniques and better communication skills, feel optimism that together they can work in the future for a new type of family relationship and be better at co-parenting.