"The problem with the traditional court route is, there is no exit ramp. Once you start, you can't stop. People get more and more bitter and say worse and worse things." W. Ross Foote, Retired Judge
Collaborative Divorce is a cutting-edge technology that is revolutionizing the divorce process in America and Canada. Never before has a process been offered for divorcing couples that removes the adversarial element inherent in many divorce proceedings, and replaces it with an approach that includes mutual respect and team problem solving.
We have all heard the devastating stories of couples who divorced the traditional way. Many of us have witnessed first hand the negative impact of spouses going to war; either as children, or as participants ourselves. The damage can last for years, or for life.
In the collaborative process, the separating couple and their lawyers sign a written agreement to work together at resolving the issues without court involvement. The couple works with their lawyers in four-way meetings, and a "back-up" team may be formed as required, of mental health professionals, a child specialist and/or a financial advisor.
The mental health professionals, child specialists, or financial advisors work together with the couple and their lawyers where necessary. Oftentimes it is just the parties and the lawyers who are needed.
Mental health professionals act as coaches to provide emotional support, teach communication skills, and help ensure that needs, concerns and feelings are understood and contained.
Using one child specialist to represent the children's needs, and one neutral financial advisor (instead of "dueling experts," which is usually the case in adversarial divorce) is more productive and cost-effective for everyone.
The collaborative approach offers an atmosphere of open communication and cooperation that helps the couple create an agreement that best meets their needs and the needs of the children during the separation process and in the future. It also works well for couples who are exploring legal separation or the possibility of reconciliation and in fact 10% of collaborative participants do reconcile.
Divorce is an end, but it is also a beginning. The door that closes on one side of a relationship is the same door that opens to the next phase of your life. Peaceful and empowered beats bitter and victimized any day. For more information, visit our Collaborative Divorce FAQ.