Collaborative Practice

Working with a team is an amazing way to get resolution for all parties.

How does it work?

Divorce or the ending of a relationship is a sensitive and personal matter. Collaborative Practice is voluntary and confidential, seeking to reach joint resolution with a commitment by all parties to refrain from going to court.

An agreement is signed that states if there is a desire to later pursue a court action, the Collaborative Team will disqualify themselves from future involvement with the case. (This is good because your attorneys are motivated to settle–they don’t get more money from you by demanding you go to court.)

Who is on my team?

The Collaborative Team consists of the parties, two attorneys, two trained “coaches” (one for each party) to facilitate effective communication, and a neutral financial consultant for asset/debt disclosures, budgeting, and property division considerations.

Sometimes parties agree to use one neutral coach instead, or they may request the services of a child specialist to meet with their children, depending on their needs and the recommendation of their counsel.

What’s the cost?

Each professional is retained individually, each with his/her own hourly rate. While the cost of having all professionals involved may appear high at the beginning of a collaborative case, it can save money in the long run because we focus on resolution, not disputing.

The litigation process can easily total $40,000 or $50,000 or more for attorney fees and expert costs, depending on the issues in dispute, and it often takes years to complete. (Example: A court appointed expert custody evaluator’s fees for two children are currently averaging between $11,000 to $15,000 in Sonoma County, and having two home appraisers testify wastes valuable time and money.)

In the collaborative process, we can schedule our meetings over a one- to six-month period, focused on completing the entire process quickly.

Will this work for me?

Yes, if the following values are important to you and your spouse:

  1. I desire that we communicate with a tone of respect with each other and all professionals.
  2. I want to prioritize the needs of our children and I am willing to seek outside expertise if needed.
  3. My needs and those of my spouse/partner deserve equal consideration; I will listen objectively.
  4. I believe that working creatively and cooperatively is an effective way to resolve conflict.
  5. It is important for us to get beyond today’s frustration and pain and plan for the future.
  6. I can behave ethically in this process, meaning I commit to an open, honest exchange of information.
  7. I desire that we jointly control our process, instead of asking a judge to decide for us.

Resolve Conflict With a Supportive Team

With a team of people supporting you, positive outcomes are well within reach. If you and your partner have an attitude of mutual respect and want to maintain a spirit of goodwill even through difficult conversations, collaborative practice may be the right solution for you.

Both you and your partner will benefit from a team experts who advocate for you, while your partner has the same. Teams may include:

  • Attorneys
  • Coaches
  • Financial consultant
  • Child specialist
  • Other experts as agreed upon

Is collaborative service right for you? Set up a confidential conversation today and let’s discuss your situation.