What is the “Interdisciplinary Team Model”?

The Interdisciplinary Collaborative Team Model is a multi-disciplinary team approach to dispute resolution, which includes attorneys, mental health professionals, a financial specialist (financial neutral), and when there are minor children, a child specialist working interactively as equals. Team members share the same core values and philosophy, consistent with the International Association of Collaborative Professionals ethical guidelines. Team members pledge they will not be involved in any court litigation concerning an assigned Collaborative Practice case. All members agree they will withdraw from the case if the parties drop out and decide to pursue litigation.

Parties choose all Collaborative Practice team members at the beginning of your case. The team is ideally made up of each spouse, and two Collaborative lawyers, one for each party; two divorce coaches, one for each individual; a child specialist who represents the voice of the child(ren); and one neutral financial specialist.

A divorcing couple can enter … Read More


How does Collaborative Practice focus on a family’s future?

Divorce and termination of domestic partnerships are an ending and a beginning all wrapped up into one process. Collaborative Practice helps parties anticipate their family’s best interests in moving forward, and include their needs in the discussions. When children affected, Collaborative Practice makes their future the number one priority. As a more respectful, dignified process, Collaborative Practice helps the family make a smoother transition to the next stage of their lives, maintaining relationships and lessening trauma and stress. Individuals and their children often find they heal more quickly and with fewer lasting effects. The same benefits can also be achieved in employment, real estate, business, probate and other civil law disputes.… Read More


Can Collaborative Practice help reach a faster divorce settlement?

Individual circumstances control the speed of any dispute resolution process as long as a party does not engage in litigation controlled by the courts. Collaborative Practice can be one way of achieving a more direct and efficient resolution. From the start, it focuses on problem solving, not blaming or endlessly airing grievances. Full disclosure and open communications help to assure all issues are discussed in a timely manner. Parties are also freed from being beholden to the court calendar. Because a final settlement is reached out of court, parties are not kept waiting for multiple court appearances or waiting to get on a crowded schedule which happens in conventional divorce litigation. Parties can work through your divorce at the pace that best suits the parties’ and family’s needs.… Read More


How does Collaborative Practice actually work?

When a couple decides to pursue a Collaborative Practice divorce, they each hire Collaborative lawyers. All of the parties agree in writing not to go to court. Then, each spouse meets privately with individual lawyers and in face-to-face discussions. Additional experts such as divorce coaches and child and financial specialists may join the process. Sometimes these professionals are the first person a party discusses divorce with, and they bring together the rest of the Collaborative Divorce team. These sessions with both spouses and all Collaborative Team members involved work toward an honest exchange of information and expression of needs and expectations. The well-being of any children receive priority attention. Children may be represented by the “child specialist,” a trained mental health professional who discusses the children’s interests. Mutual problem-solving by all the parties leads to the final divorce agreement. A similar process can get excellent results in other types of … Read More


How can Collaborative Practice help avoid the emotional hostility and trauma so often part of the divorce process?

Collaborative Practice is guided by a critically important principle: respect. By setting a respectful tone, Collaborative Practice encourages divorcing spouses to demonstrate compassion, understanding and cooperation. Collaborative professionals are trained in non-confrontational negotiation techniques to help parties keep discussions productive and avoid personal attacks. The goal of Collaborative Practice is to build a settlement on areas of agreement, not to perpetuate disagreement.… Read More


Is Collaborative Practice an option for same-sex family law matters?

Yes! A same sex couple getting divorced no matter where or when their marriage or domestic partnership originally took place can equally benefit from Collaborative Practice. Even unmarried parents whose relationships are breaking up and who need to make decisions about their children such as custody agreements can take advantage of the Collaborative Process. All information about Collaborative Practice applies equally in all relationships. It can be especially advantageous in avoiding “cookie-cutter” solutions applied by the court system originally intended only for traditional forms of marriage.… Read More


What is the difference between Collaborative Practice and conventional divorce?

In a conventional divorce, one spouse sues the other for divorce and sets in motion a series of legal steps. Frequently the process leads to the involvement of the court to achieve a final resolution. The process of a conventional divorce by its nature forces the spouses to become adversaries, with one eventually being the “winner” and the other being the “loser.” The conflict generated as a result can cause tremendous emotional trauma for all the participants and destroy relationships. It is especially difficult on children who can be made to feel they must take sides as well.

By its definition, Collaborative Practice is a non-adversarial approach to divorce. The parties and both lawyers along with any other supportive Collaborative Team professionals pledge in writing not to go to court. Parties negotiate in good faith, and achieve a mutually-agreed upon settlement outside of court. The parties remain in control of … Read More


What is a “Collaborative Team”?

The chosen professionals who work together on the parties’ behalf, and on behalf of the family’s best interests as a problem-solving team rather than as adversaries to facilitate an out-of-court divorce. A Collaborative Team can be any combination of professionals chosen to work with to resolve the dispute. It can be just the parties and Collaborative lawyers which comprise the Collaborative Law component of Collaborative Practice. It can be the parties, Collaborative attorneys and a single financial professional often referred to as a “financial neutral.” It can also include divorce coaches, licensed mental health professionals working as a team either before or after the Collaborative attorneys are chosen and the legal process begins. Finally, a mental health professional with special expertise working with children may represent your childrens’ interests as the Child Specialist member of your Collaborative Team. The model is flexible so it can address your specific concerns and … Read More


What is the difference between Collaborative Practice and Mediation?

In mediation, an impartial third party (the mediator) facilitates negotiations with the other disputing party, and tries to help settle the case. However, the mediator cannot give either party legal advice and cannot be an advocate for either side. If a party involved has his or her own lawyer, the attorney may or may not be present at mediation sessions. If the attorneys are not present, a party can consult with the attorney between mediation sessions. Once an agreement is reached, a draft of the settlement terms is usually prepared by the mediator for review, and can be reviewed and edited by the parties along with the attorneys.

Collaborative Law was designed to allow parties to have their own lawyers with them during the negotiation process, while maintaining the same commitment to settlement as the sole agenda. It is the job of the lawyers, who have received training similar to … Read More


What are Collaborative Law, Collaborative Practice, the Collaborative Process, and Collaborative Divorce?

Collaborative Law, Collaborative Process, and Collaborative Divorce are terms often used interchangeably. However, they are all components of Collaborative Practice, which has key principles in common:

  • The voluntary and free exchange of information
  • The pledge not to litigate
  • The commitment to resolutions that respect your shared goals

Collaborative Law describes the legal component of Collaborative Practice, made up of both parties and their attorneys. Collaborative Process means the key elements of the process itself.

While “Collaborative Divorce” refers to resolution of particular types of disputes (divorce and domestic partnerships), the other terms can also apply to disputes involving employment law, probate law, construction law, real property law, and other civil law areas where the parties are likely to have continuing relationships after the current conflict has been resolved. See our FAQs about Civil Collaborative Practice and Estates and Trusts.… Read More