The Collaborative Process

The Collaborative Process is a healthier way to divorce.

The end of a marriage or relationship can be tragic.  The traditional process of divorcing only adds to the pain.  You and your spouse may come to see each other as adversaries and the divorce as a battleground.  You may experience feelings of confusion, anger, loss and conflict.  Whatever you feel, it is even worse for your children.

Under such circumstances, you might find it difficult to see an end to divorce, much less imagine a hopeful future afterwards.

Collaborative Divorce Solutions of Orange County’s message to you: It doesn’t have to be this way.  A growing number of divorcing couples, supported by legal, financial, and mental health professionals on the front lines of traditional adversarial divorce, demand a more constructive alternative built on fairness and respect.  These professionals have developed the Collaborative Practice model.

The Collaborative Practice approach to divorce is based on three principles:

  • A written agreement not to go to court
  • An honest exchange of information by both spouses
  • A solution that takes into account the highest priorities of both spouses and their children

Mutual respect is fundamental to the Collaborative way.  You may stop being spouses, but you don’t suddenly stop being human beings deserving of dignity and consideration.  When respect is given and received, discussions are likely to be more productive and an agreement reached more easily.  Collaborative Divorce keeps your divorce matters private, unlike traditional litigated divorce where all of your personal business and “dirty laundry” is a public record.

Research has also shown Collaborative Divorce saves as much as thirty percent of the cost of a traditional litigated divorce.

CD SOC Our Process Graphic


The Collaborative Process is a More Peaceful Way to Divorce

The Collaborative Divorce Process is a respectful, peaceful and dignified process that is designed to ensure that the participants and their children successfully transition to the next chapter of their lives.  In the Collaborative Process, the clients retain maximum control over the outcome of their case, as opposed to turning over the decision-making to a judge who does not have intimate knowledge of their particular family.

All of our members are committed to the Collaborative Process, a non-adversarial approach designed to resolve family law conflicts in a mutually-beneficial manner.  Collaborative attorneys are specialists in settling disputes.  Clients and professionals work together respectfully, and in good faith, to gather the information needed to reach an agreement.  The goal is to achieve a “win/win” outcome for all participants.

Typically, clients and professionals meet together to discuss all issues, plan for information gathering and make interim arrangements, as necessary.  A team will be assembled based on the individual participants’ needs.  The team may consist of two collaborative attorneys and the clients, or can include attorneys, communication coaches, child specialists (both roles are filled by mental health professionals), and a neutral financial specialist.  Information gathered will be shared with the other clients and team members in order to clarify each participant’s interests, and to stimulate ideas for possible solutions.  All communications made during the Collaborative Process remain confidential, and will not be used as evidence if the case later goes to court.

The clients, through their collaborative attorneys agree to voluntarily provide necessary documents and information early in the process which serves to drastically reduce the cost of the formal discovery that is often a hallmark of litigated divorces.  Full disclosure and open communication at every stage of the Collaborative Process facilitates a faster and more satisfying resolution than if the matter had been litigated in court.

A settlement that meets the approval of both clients can then be fashioned and memorialized in a written agreement that is filed with the court.  This method of collaboratively handling conflict is designed to minimize hostility, and to foster a more cordial relationship in the future.

The guiding principles of the Collaborative Process are particularly well-suited to issues of family law and divorce.  All clients and Collaborative Professionals agree at the outset that the case will not be litigated, If the case cannot be settled, the attorneys and other professionals must withdraw, and the attorneys will assist the participants in finding new attorneys to help them resolve the case through the traditional court system.  Even in these cases, useful groundwork will have been laid for a more effective way for clients to work cooperatively, and to resolve their differences in the future.


Your Collaborative Team Professionals

Collaborative Divorce offers the services of legal, mental health, and financial professionals working together as a team to help our clients through the divorce process.  Given that the outcome will affect lives long after the divorce is final, the goal is to help both parties make thoughtful rather than reactive decisions.

Legal Professionals: Attorneys who handle the legal aspects of your divorce to ensure all arrangements are proper, legal, and binding.

Mental Health Professionals: Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, psychologists, or Licensed Clinical Social Workers who function as a divorce coach to help you deal with stress or any emotional issues which may arise for either party or your children.  Your divorce coach can teach you communication skills to avoid impasses.  Psychological stability from both sides is essential to making the right decisions and reaching a peaceful settlement as soon as possible.  Cases with difficult child custody issues may also employ a Child Custody Specialist to assess and convey the unique needs of each child.

The Importance of Utilizing A Child Specialist

Financial Professionals: Financial specialists including certified financial planners, certified Divorce Financial Planners or Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) who specialize in the financial and tax aspects of divorce.  Their purpose is to help both parties reach a mutually acceptable financial agreement while assisting you in making manageable long-term fiscal decisions.

Collaborative Professionals offer specialized services, having undergone extensive training in Collaborative mediation method and procedures.  Members of Collaborative Divorce Solutions of Orange County have developed insights into all aspects of the divorce process.  Our three independent professionals understand how to work together as a team in your best interests.

The Role of the Neutral Financial Specialist



Testimonials About Collaborative Divorce

Mark H.

“My friends who have gone through litigation found it horrible and expensive.  The collaborative process short-cuts the frustration of court dates, arguing about every single point in front of a judge and the expensive costs of litigation.”

Stephen F.

“The collaborative process creates an environment of truth in which the interest of each spouse and each child are best served.”

Vicky B.

“I knew that it would be so much better for our daughter if my former husband and I could get along after our divorce because we would still have to deal with each other for the rest of our lives.  We finished our divorce process a year ago.  Our daughter is emotionally stable because we are able to communicate with each other and not have hurt feelings.  I have so many friends who are going through divorces and can’t even talk to one another.”


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