image displayed if flash reader not installed

Collaborative Divorce

For a discussion of some of the most common dispute resolution options in divorce cases, see the section of this site called, “Dispute Resolution Options.” This section discusses using collaborative family law in a divorce case in more detail.

What is it?

Collaborative family law is a way of practicing law where the parties and their attorneys agree to assist in resolving conflict using a cooperative approach rather than adversarial strategies. It is a process that allows the parties to avoid going to court and having a judge decide their issues. The parties and their attorneys commit to working together in a constructive and positive way to reach a settlement.

How does it work?

In the collaborative law process, the parties and their attorneys sign a commitment not to go to court. They agree to resolve all issues by agreement. There are no contested court hearings and all information is exchanged voluntarily. Any outside experts who may be need to resolve complex issues (accountants, appraisers, therapists, etc.) are chosen by both parties and are retained jointly. Most of all, the parties and their attorneys work together, using creative problem-solving techniques to achieve an agreement uniquely tailored to the needs of you and your family. The collaborative law process works if problem solving is more important than fighting and both parties are committed to achieving solutions that are fair to both.

Why use it?

The collaborative law process offers the following potential benefits:

1. Avoid court.  Everyone can focus on achieving a resolution without the constant threat of “going to court.” Outcomes are not forced on the parties by a judge or other outside decision maker. Children and families are saved from the effects of litigation and adversarial tactics.

2. Less costly.  The process can generally be less time consuming and less costly than litigation, since all resources are directed at achieving a resolution, and not on the procedures related to litigation. Resources are used to achieve resolutions, not wage court battles.

3. Cooperative approach.  You have the support, guidance and advice of your own attorney, and yet you can confidently cooperate with your spouse and his or her lawyer in resolving your issues.

4. You are in charge.  The collaborative process is empowering, informative, and less stressful than court. You control the proceedings. You are a vital part of the settlement team (including both parties and both attorneys). Your destiny and that of your family is not in the hands of a third party (the court).

5. Collaborative lawyers.   Both parties have skilled family lawyers who are committed to the collaborative process of reaching resolutions while maintaining the dignity of the parties.

How do I begin the process?

If you are interested in learning more about collaborative family law, please call our office for a free initial consultation.

You can also visit the following sites for more information:

Collaborative Professionals of Northeast Wisconsin >

Collaborative Family Law Council of Wisconsin, Inc. >

International Academy of Collaborative Professionals >