Collaborative Divorce is an Excellent Alternative for Families

Collaborative law offers divorcing couples a child-centered, respectful and efficient means of resolving divorce disputes. Collaborative law offers couples the advantage of heightened privacy and control over the process.

The goal of collaborative law is to help couples make decisions about divorce, child custody and other family law issues. You create the future you want for your post-divorce family and for your children.

At DuBois Law Group we offer collaborative law services. I am a member of the King County Collaborative Law association and of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. As part of my collaborative law practice training, I completed  Title 26 Guardian ad Litem training.  I also engaged in interest-based negotiation and communication skills training.

A Collaborative Approach to Divorce

It might sound counter-intuitive, but the collaborative process is not for the faint of heart. Committing to set your emotional wounds aside and put your child’s needs first is not easy. If you are contemplating a collaborative law divorce, it is helpful to know a little more about the process.

At the start of the process, the couple agrees to some basic ground rules like these:

  • I agree to proceed in “Good Faith”. Good faith means to abide by the rules of common courtesy, keep an open mind, be willing to explore options without holding a fixed position, and share all pertinent information.
  • I agree to voice any concerns or questions about the overall process, direction, or any interactions amongst the Participants.
  • I agree to convert complaints into neutral requests to the best of my ability, and to refrain from blaming and negative assumptions based on the past behavior of my partner.
  • I agree to work productively in the “here and now” keeping everyone’s future well being in mind.

Then, the couple signs a binding contract committing to the collaborative process. As part of the agreement, the couple agrees to share and disclose all information freely. The couple commits to stay out of court and work together. They also agree to hire new counsel if the collaborative process fails because if either party chooses to stop the collaborative process, the lawyers who participated in the process are legally forbidden from further representing their clients.

Over a period of time, they work out divorce arrangements over child custody, property division and other critical legal matters. The collaborative law process usually includes help from experts – a financial specialist, a child specialist, and a divorce coach. Depending on your case, we may also work with other experts who help parents reach sound decisions.

The ultimate goal is for the couple to establish a legally binding agreement that best serves the needs of all parties.