What Is a Collaborative Process?
The pain of ending a relationship and the challenges it poses for families can be overwhelming and like no other. Traditional court-based separation and divorce often exacerbate this pain, leaving behind bitterness that remains for years. In addition, in a typical court-based separation process, a third party, such as a judge or arbitrator, makes the decisions for the spouses and the children, with less chance of addressing the family’s unique needs and values.
A Collaborative approach to separation and divorce offers a more effective and less adversarial alternative. With the Collaborative Process, you and your partner commit to:
Avoiding litigation and the courtroom entirely
Treating each other with respect and open communication
Full disclosure of relevant information and documents
Working to understand each other's concerns and needs
Making a genuine effort to address each other's needs and concerns
Collaboratively working towards an agreement that benefits both parties and the family
You don't need to be amicable to use a Collaborative approach. Couples and families with high levels of conflict typically have better outcomes using a collaborative versus litigation-style approach to separation. Litigation fuels the flames of the conflict and increases inter-spouse and familial conflict. Collaborative Professionals are trained to screen for family conflict and put safeguards in place to protect all parties to a Collaborative Process.
In family law, the principle is to treat both parties to a separation equally. Whether parties opt for a collaborative or traditional approach, the family's finances are typically divided according to legal guidelines. However, in traditional litigation, the associated non-financial and financial costs often leave both parties feeling like they have lost.
The Collaborative Process provides a positive path forward, a proven process for moving past conflicts toward resolution.
The Collaborative Process
The Collaborative Process is a team-based approach.
Families are complex, and relying on a traditional separation process involving a judge, who may not fully understand your family's unique needs, isn't the most suitable approach for making decisions that will shape your and your family's future.
The Collaborative Process uses a team of professionals with the right skills and experience to help families transition to a better future.
Family Lawyers: Collaborative family law lawyers undergo the same training as their litigation-focused counterparts, but they also receive specialized training that equips them with non-adversarial conflict resolution tools. Unlike the traditional approach, where lawyers negotiate against each other, resulting in unnecessary stress and expenses, a Collaborative lawyer aims to facilitate spouses' understanding of their rights under the Family Law Act. They work with their Collaborative counterpart to ensure a better and more comprehensive family law outcome.
Divorce and Parenting Coaches: Divorce and parenting coaches are trained mental health professionals, including psychologists, social workers, and registered clinical counsellors, who have taken additional collaborative and mediation training. These coaches assist individuals and families in navigating the separation process by offering emotional support, effective communication strategies, and valuable parenting guidance. Leveraging their mental health expertise alongside their collaborative training, these coaches aid spouses and families in establishing communication protocols and co-parenting plans that prioritize the well-being of everyone involved.
Financial Specialists: Financial specialists are experts in the field, including Chartered Professional Accountants, Certified Financial Planners, and Chartered Business Valuators, who have undergone additional training in collaboration and mediation. These specialists play a crucial role in helping individuals and families secure a stable financial future. They address often overlooked aspects, such as tax efficiency and future cash flows of all parties, by working with both spouses to plan for their future. In the traditional approach to separation, no financial planning is done.
Child Specialists: Child specialists are trained mental health professionals, including psychologists, social workers, and registered clinical counsellors. They engage in one-on-one meetings with your children, providing a secure environment for them to express their feelings and concerns. These specialists play a vital role in ensuring that the collaborative team maintains a focus on the children's best interests. In contrast, in the traditional approach to separation, children's voices often go unheard, leading to a less favourable outcome for the entire family.
Spouses: In the Collaborative Process, both spouses are integral team members. They join the team on equal footing and offer the professionals the necessary information to assist in shaping a more favourable outcome for themselves and their families after separation. In contrast, the traditional approach to separation often relegates spouses to a passive role, where they have limited say, akin to children who lack the understanding to make decisions, leaving the judge with the ultimate authority.
The Collaborative Team expertly navigates individuals and families through the complexities of challenging financial, parenting, and emotionally charged decisions. It is the best choice for creating a brighter future for individuals and families while remaining cost-effective and time-efficient.