The collaborative divorce process works best for partners experiencing moderate levels of conflict, who face the likelihood that, without an intensive team process, their negotiation might collapse into litigation. Collaboration requires good faith and hard work, but provides a great deal of support for the separating partners. For higher conflict couples, collaboration may be the right choice to maintain a commitment to divorce with dignity.
CORE COLLABORATIVE LAW PRINCIPLES:
• No court intervention or threats of court intervention.
• Good faith disclosure of all pertinent information and documents.
• Client-centered, interest-based negotiation at a pace participants choose.
• A safe, fear-reducing environment for clear-headed decision-making.
• Protect children and vulnerable persons. Be fair. Live your highest values.
If you think that reading the fictional story of Helen and Joe Middleton and their two children, Peter and Hallie, would help you understand collaboration, click the following title to link to the story: Middleton Family Collaborative Divorce.
Is Collaboration Right For You and Your Partner?
- Collaborative Ground Rules. Some attitudes and perspectives help people create constructive collaborative outcomes. Click here to read Collaborative Ground Rules.
- High End Goals. Partners collaborating their divorce seek to meet both partners' needs and interests. If you want to read examples of high end goals of others, click here to read High End Goals.
- Core Books. No one has time to read everything. These epitomes summarize the core content of books with information critical to the success of your collaboration. Click here to read these Epitomes. You may whet your appetite to read the full texts.
- Your Divorce Issues. Some or all of the issues contained in this list will pertain to your collaborative divorce. This list will help you begin to think about the landscape of your divorce negotiation. Click here to read Issues In Collaborative Divorce.
- Impasse. In most collaborative divorces, the partners reach settlement of most issues, but become stuck on one or two of the toughest. The collaborative process encourages partners to use interest-based strategies to get unstuck. Click here to read strategies for overcoming Impasse.
- Collaborative Participation Agreement. If you form a collaborative team, you will be entering into a form of limited representation with your collaborative attorney. The Collaborative Participation Agreement clarifies ways in which collaboration diverges from traditional litigation representation. Click here to download a blank Collaborative Participation Agreement.
Information Your Collaborative Team May Need
- Collaboration Questionnaire. Lancaster Law Office asks partners who retain Mr. Lancaster to represent them in a collaborative divorce process to complete his Collaboration Questionnaire. Click here to download the Lancaster Law Office Collaborative Questionnaire.
- Child Information Worksheet. Your collaborative team will need to begin to understand your children, since they are part of your divorce but not at the table. This worksheet will help you tell your team, especially your child specialist, about your kids. Click here to download the Child Information Worksheet.
- Child Assessment Worksheet. Your children may not be able to express what they feel about your divorce. Often their needs are expressed in action or changed attitudes, which you may need to identify and report to your collaborative professionals. This worksheet contains one small, but critical, section of the previous worksheet. Click here to download the Child Assessment Worksheet.
- Parenting Plan Worksheet. In the course of your collaboration, you and your partner will fashion parenting agreements that protect your children and insure that each of you have a deep and vital relationship with your kids. Click here to download the Parenting Plan Worksheet.
International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. This is the umbrella organization for collaborative practitioners globally. The website is a cornucopia of valuable information and exchange of ideas. collaborativepractice.com.
Cascadia Collaborative Divorce. This open group of collaborative professionals meets in the Northgate neighborhood of Seattle, and welcomes new-comers to collaborative law, as well as seasoned professionals in this form of conflict resolutions. http://www.cascadiacollaborativedivorce.com.
Texas Collaborative Law. The collaborative community of Texas is a force to be reckoned with. Their website contains useful advice, good video segments, and an outsized view of collaboration one expects of Texans. collablawtexas.com.
Minnesota Collaborative Law. Collaborative law started in Minnesota. You may want to check out the website of the Collaborative Law Institute of Minnesota. We especially liked their FAQs section. collaborativelaw.org.