collaborative divorce

Resolving conflict through Collaboration

Collaborative Divorce is a comparatively new way for married couples to resolve disputes respectfully, without going to court — while working with trained professionals who are important to all areas of life affecting the divorce.

The heart of Collaborative Divorce (also called “no-court divorce,” “divorce with dignity,” “peaceful divorce”) is to offer individuals the support, protection, and guidance of their own lawyers without going to court. Additionally, Collaborative Divorce allows the benefit of child and financial specialists, divorce coaches and other professionals all working together on a team to help the family create a lasting, durable agreement without going to court.

In Collaborative Divorce, core elements form the agreed commitments, which are to:

  • Negotiate a mutually acceptable settlement without having courts decide issues
  • Maintain open communication and information sharing
  • Create shared solutions acknowledging the highest priorities of all

– excerpted from The International Academy of Collaborative Professionals

Collaborative Law, of which Collaborative Divorce is a part, has been described as an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process guided by the uncompromising principle of a non-litigation approach to problem-solving. Going to court is “off the table” as an option to resolving differences. Therefore the parties sign a Collaborative Divorce Participation Agreement, promising not to go to court while they are negotiating a resolution to their conflict, a resolution that is acceptable to everyone in their family. The Collaborative Divorce Participation Agreement states explicitly that the Collaborative attorneys are hired for the sole purpose of helping the parties negotiate a settlement and not to represent them in a contested court battle. If the Collaborative Divorce Process breaks down because one party or his or her attorney feels compelled to litigate, then the Process ends and Collaborative counsel assist their clients to transition to litigation attorneys. However, most Collaborative Divorces result in settlements because of the shared commitments of the parties and the professionals to the Collaborative Process. Therefore the family’s time and money is not spent asserting positions and fighting over limited resources. Instead resources are used only to help guide the parties in developing, evaluating and accepting a durable resolution that reflects the parties’ commitment to work together respectfully to turn in different directions. By choosing Collaborative Divorce, you choose a future that reflects your desire for an agreement that works for you, your spouse and your children.


  • Discuss Collaborative Divorce with your spouse. See if you both want to explore it as an option for resolving your conflicts.
  • Consult a trained collaborative lawyer to learn more about the Collaborative Divorce Process and how it may help you reach an agreement that is acceptable to everyone in your family without going to court.
  • If either spouse needs help communicating about important decisions, is struggling with the emotional impact of the separation or divorce or desires guidance with developing a parenting plan for the children, both should consult with Collaborative mental health professionals for communication coaching.
  • If either spouse needs help understanding family finances or future needs and resources, then both spouses should visit and consult with a Collaborative financial specialist together.
  • If either spouse has concerns about the impact of the separation or divorce on the children or desires guidance with the emotional and developmental needs of the children during the divorce process they should consult with a Collaborative Child Specialist together.

It can be utilized for most family concerns:

  • Separation
  • Temporary agreements
  • Custody or visitation
  • Child support
  • Spousal support
  • Changing support, custody or visitation
  • Post Divorce matters
  • Pre-marital agreements
  • Unmarried partners

Lets get STARTED

VaCP members are Collaborative Professionals, dedicated to resolving family and civil matters without litigation. They train extensively to provide clients a high level of skill, competence and compassion to resolve disputes through the Collaborative Process without going to court.

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