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What is a Streamlined Collaborative Divorce?

What Is the Streamlined Collaborative Model?

The Streamlined Collaborative Model is a new and developing approach to divorce in which some Collaborative professionals are considering working. The Streamlined approach is meant to be a more efficient and a less costly way of helping couples separate and divorce. The model is currently being discussed among Collaborative practice groups in a few locations in the United States, including the New York Metropolitan Area and Long Island, as well as in Canada. In each instance, the practice groups must refine the model so that it is tailored to the uniqueness of its own community. This is a new approach and there is a lot for the members of the Long Island Collaborative Divorce Professionals to think about and to discuss before it can be implemented. Many of our members are looking forward to bringing the Streamlined model to a wider range of couples and families than are currently being served by the traditional Collaborative process.

Unique Features of the Streamlined Model:

In the Streamlined model, there is more reliance on the neutral professionals, i.e. the Family Support Specialists and the Financial Professionals, who do the majority of the work with the clients in separate meetings without the attorneys being present. Full team meetings, including the clients, their attorneys, the Financial Professional and the Family Support Specialist, are kept to a minimum, perhaps two or three in total.

In addition, a fee schedule is provided to the clients at the start of the process, with a total flat fee, which is broken out by each discipline. In the Streamlined model, each discipline’s total fee is based on an estimated set number of hours. The full amount is paid at the start of the process, but may be refunded if the process ends before full resolution, depending on in which phase the process ended.

As with the traditional Collaborative model, each professional negotiates their own retainer with the clients and a Participation Agreement is signed by everyone on the team at the onset. What is different from the traditional model is that the clients will do more work on their own, guided by a handbook of steps and stages as they follow a “roadmap” of the process. Couples are expected to work on their own and together with their spouse in collecting needed documentation, and clarifying their interests, needs, and goals.

Couples who engage in this Streamlined approach will need to have an ability to work self-sufficiently as well as together which will entail a lower level of conflict and better communication during the process. Not all couples can accomplish this. There will therefore be an independent online assessment to determine which couples are suited for this approach, and which couples should instead be encouraged to use the traditional Collaborative model that offers more professional support and guidance. While many couples may wish to use the Streamlined approach to save time and money, this initial assessment may determine that the traditional Collaborative model is more appropriate, or in some rare cases, that the couple may indeed be better served in court by the litigation model.

It is an exciting time to be participating in the Collaborative field, and the Long Island Collaborative Divorce Professionals are looking forward to serving your needs and those of your families. Please do not hesitate to reach out to any of the Collaborative professionals on our website: for a consultation about the process options available.

Written by Bob Raymond, PhD and Catherine Canadé, Esq.

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