What is Collaborative?

For many people, the Collaborative Process is a better way because the objective is a settlement that benefits the family and uses an interest-based, problem solving approach. There are four principles that make collaborative work, and we often refer to them as the building blocks of Collaborative:

Principle 1 - a written pledge, signed by both of you, that you will seek to resolve your issues in the Collaborative Process and not go to court;

Principle 2 - the team members - your attorney, coaches, financial and child specialists - will withdraw from your case if you choose to leave the Collaborative Process and they cannot represent you in court; you will have to "start over;"

Principle 3 - both of you agree to a complete and open exchange of all information; and

Principle 4 - the final resolution of your case must consider the interests of everyone.

Both you and your partner are represented by a  specially trained collaborative attorney, and other collaborative professionals as needed, and all work together in a cooperative, non-adversarial process with one goal: to achieve a mutually acceptable agreement.

Once an agreement is reached on all of the issues, the agreement is spelled out in a written document. The document is filed with the court and the parties proceed to an uncontested final court hearing. At the hearing, the court approves the agreement and grants the judgment.

The Collaborative Team


  • Represents you throughout the process
  • Serves as a “Settlement Specialist”
  • Draft documents and provides legal advice
  • Supports and advocates for realistic settlements & transition


  • Is a licensed mental health practitioner
  • Trained in working with adults and families
  • Provides expertise in conflict resolution & emotion management
  • Serves as your personal coach through the process, as needed

Child Specialist

  • Meets with children and acts as their advocate and voice
  • Increases parents’ awareness of impact of divorce on children
  • Helps create a parenting plan that makes sense for everyone

Financial Neutral

  • Acts as a neutral financial advisor and expert
  • Facilitates compilation of needed financial documents
  • Helps team and spouses understand current and future financial impact of decisions reached in the process