A civilized, efficient alternative to
the adversarial process that is generally inherent in divorce, and that can
inflict so much emotional damage on divorcing couples and their children.
Collaborative Divorce is a
way for a divorcing couple in Arizona and other states to work as a team
with trained professionals to resolve
disputes respectfully, without going to
court. Each party has the support,
protection and guidance of his or her own
lawyer. But the lawyers, instead of going to battle against each other,
pledge to work together in crafting an outcome that is fair to all.
As a practical matter, both parties must have a
reasonable commitment to resolving their issues via a collaborative
the collaborative process? See the
FAQs at the International Academy of Collaborative
See Mary Ann Hess's
Divorce with Respect blog
Options: Mary Ann Hess helps you gain a measure of cost certainty through a
variety of legal fee options.
While collaborative lawyers
are always involved, the circumstances of
the divorce may make it appropriate for
other professionals – child specialists,
business and financial specialists or
divorce coaches – to be a part of the
process. In these models you and your spouse
have the option of starting your divorce
with the professionals with whom you feel
most comfortable and then choosing any other
professionals you need as the process
progresses. Therefore, you benefit
throughout collaboration from the assistance
and support of all of your chosen
How Collaborative Divorce Differs from
Collaborative Divorce is
generally distinguished from traditional
litigation by its core elements, which are
set out in a contractual commitment among
you and your chosen collaborative
negotiate a mutually
acceptable settlement without using court
to decide any issues for the clients,
withdrawal of the
professionals if either client goes to
engage in open
communication and information sharing, and
create shared solutions
that take into account the highest
priorities of both clients.
of Collaborative Divorce
Collaborative Divorce can often hold down legal costs. (The
Boston Law Collaborative has found that the median cost of a collaborative
divorce was 26% less than a divorce achieved via traditional settlement, and 75%
less than divorces that end in court.)
You and your spouse keep
control of the process, without going to
Children's needs are given
You and your spouse commit
to reaching agreement through a
An atmosphere of respect
preserves self esteem.
Open communication allows
both of you to express your needs for
moving forward and gives you new tools for
effective problem-solving in the future.
There is full disclosure of
facts and information.
Face-to-face meetings in
the presence of lawyers make negotiations
direct and efficient and allow for
mutually created resolutions.
The Collaborative process
helps both of you plan for your own future
and that of your children, and to begin
new lives for all of you.
Divorce for You?
Divorce is a highly personal
matter, and no approach is right for
everyone. Many couples, however, have found
that Collaborative Divorce is a welcome
alternative to the potentially destructive
aspects of conventional divorce. To
determine if Collaborative Divorce may be
right for you, ask yourself if these values
Maintaining an atmosphere
of respect, even in the presence of
If you have children,
making their needs a high priority.
Listening objectively to
your spouse's needs, fully expecting that
your own needs will be given equal
Working creatively and
cooperatively to solve issues.
Seeing beyond the
frustration and pain of the present moment
to plan for the future.
Behaving in an ethical
manner toward your spouse.
Keeping control of the
divorce process with you and your spouse,
and not relegating it to the court system.
If you can affirm these
basic principles, it is likely that
Collaborative Divorce would be a viable
option for you.
The Result of
The end result of
Collaborative Practice is a divorce
agreement that has been achieved through
mutual problem solving. You, along with your
lawyers and other chosen collaborative
professionals, take control of shaping the
final agreement, rather than having a
settlement imposed on you by the court.