The Collaborative process is an empowering and unique model of dispute resolution that allows parties to come together in a supportive and structured environment in order to settle their issues. It is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution for couples looking to end their marriage or relationship in a manner that respects the individuals involved, and always considers the best interest of the children. The process is transparent with both parties agreeing to rely on a supportive team of professionals, from the attorneys to the financial expert to the family support specialist, who assist in crafting a settlement that everyone can agree upon. The Collaborative team helps the couple brainstorm different alternatives and explores how each outcome might affect the future - legally, financially and emotionally.
The Collaborative Counsel, or attorney, represents one of the parties and advocates for, educates and empowers his or her client throughout the entire process. The legal rights of the parties are protected, yet there is never the threat of litigation or going to court. This process is accomplished completely outside of the court system, providing the couple with a more controlled and supportive environment. while the attorneys are knowledgeable about the matrimonial laws and court imposed guidelines, the Collaborative process is not confined to those parameters. Parties are able to make decisions that are in their best interests, keeping the family intact even though the marriage has ended.
The Financial Expert participates in team meetings in order to fully understand the financial needs of the family, gather any necessary documentation and educate the family as to the fiscal consequences of the particular decisions being made. This expert is a neutral in the process and provides the same information to all team members, ensuring that any decisions made, are done with the couple's full understanding of the economic situation. The Financial Experts in our group often help couples develop creative and unconventional ways of resolving their finances that the courts will not even entertain. We recognize that the value of the tea pot, investment or business is not always about its monetary value.
The Family Support Specialist is another neutral involved in the Collaborative setting, assisting the family develop better communication skills and refocusing the couple's attention to the best interests of the children. Each party in the divorce is reminded of the importance of reducing the stress levels for the sake of themselves, each other and their children. With the guidance of the skilled Family Support Specialist, more rational conversations result and a durable and practical parenting plan is designed. Most important, the parties are heard and when a resolution is ultimately reached it is one that everyone has agreed to abide by going forward as a family.
Each professional in our group has received very specific training to handle Collaborative Divorce and each has undergone extensive mediation training as well. Using these specific skills to assist families choose a better path forward during times of family conflict, is our life's work. Our professionals have either been working in a litigation environment for much of their career, have navigated their own contentious divorce, or both. We firmly believe there is a better way to resolve conflict. The Collaborative Process is most successful when the parties have a full interdisciplinary team of attorneys, family support specialists and financial experts, all dedicated to ensuring that the parties are the masters of their own fate.