Introduction to Collaborative Practice
Anne Towey's absolute commitment to collaborative practice
Collaborative and the Mainstream Media
What is collaborative practice really about?
Questions to consider before deciding how you will obtain your divorce
Regaining control in the midst of divorce
Collaborative practice groups; local, national and international


Introduction to Collaborative Practice

Divorce is a difficult, but these days entirely normal, transition in life.  

Unfortunately almost half of all divorces in America end not in the death of a spouse, but in a divorce. Most of us are close to someone whose life has been touched by divorce. We know it is one of the most difficult transitions in a personís life.

The traditional way of obtaining the legal divorce is through litigation.

Divorce litigation is the one area of litigation I was never willing to practiceóbecause until quite recently I knew of no way a person could conduct divorce litigation without necessarily damaging the mental health of the children involved. Many people agree that the courtroom is not where decisions about the family should be made, but many do not realize that there are a number of alternatives. One of the alternatives is Collaborative Practice.

Now that there is a way for couples to obtain a divorce, have all of their legitimate needs met, and yet do so in a way that does not add unnecessary damage to themselves or their children I am offering such services to clients.

Collaborative Practice is especially attractive to people who are concerned about how their divorce will impact their children. Collaborative Practice significantly makes it quite possible for parents to co-parent their children effectively going forward, even though living separate lives in separate dwellings. Indeed, although the ending of the marital relationship is difficult, the continuing relationship is transformed into one that is a little less intimate and a little more business-like. Thus, collaboratively divorced parties realize that when their children marry, they will be able to sit together in the same pew and at the same table if they so choose. They will be able to sit together at athletic events so their children do not need to look to different areas to see their parents supporting them. 

Collaborative Practice is also especially attractive to people who want to retain some of the good aspects of their relationship, or forge new positive aspects, despite the fact that they are obtaining a divorce.

Collaborative Family Law Practice is comprised of three significant principles

  1. The parties and their counsel pledge in writing not to go to Court.  This is called a Participation Agreement. Without a participation agreement, the divorce is not a collaborative process. It is a claim to be cooperative while still having to gear up for trial. That eliminates the benefits of collaborative practice.

  2. The parties make an honest and good faith exchange of information

  3. Solutions will take into account the highest priorities for both parties and their children

Some Hallmarks of Collaborative Practice Include:

  • A shared commitment to proceed honestly, respectfully and in good faith at all times.

  • Avoidance of the threat of, or resort to, litigation.

  • Active participation by the parties in four way meetings

  • Investment of time in ascertaining the shared goals and legitimate interests of the parties.

  • Encouragement to work directly with professionals in a team to assist in the resolution process, with each serving the specific function for which they are suited by virtue of their training and experience; attorneys for the legal issues, licensed mental health professionals for the issues relating to how divorce impacts children at the various stages of development, and to help the parties deal effectively with their own emotional issues surrounding the divorce, along with licensed financial professionals to come up with a creative solution that ensures every member of the families legitimate needs are met.

  • Joint retention of any additional experts needed in the process, such as the financial experts, mortgage brokers, etc.

  • Disqualification of all lawyers, other professionals or experts involved in the collaborative process from participation in any litigated proceedings between the parties.

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