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  • The drawings below show how children feel when the divorcing parents go at each other in traditional litigation. That process inflames the fires of anger between the parents with the children often caught in the middle.
    In the collaborative divorce process, however, the parents can divorce in a manner that leaves the children with the minimum of emotional trauma.


    courtesy of the International Association of Collaborative Practice- IACP

    Staying Focused on the Things that Matter

    Back in the 1980s, an American divorce lawyer by the name 
    of Stu Webb set out to develop a new way of ending the 
    couple relationship while promoting the resilience and 
    benefits of the family unit. In the years since, a large cadre 
    of leading professionals worldwide has developed the 
    theory and practice of Collaborative Divorce into an 
    organized system of successful intervention representing a 
    major innovation in the practice of family law. 

    Collaborative Divorce is designed to restructure the relationship and 
    property between husband and wife out of court, while sowing the 
    seeds of ongoing constructive engagement. It offers multi-
    disciplinary support to help the family cope with the reality and 
    consequences of divorce, reduce conflict, and focus on solutions 
    while encouraging healing throughout the divorce process. 

    Collaborative Divorce developed from an understanding of the 
    stress, fears and uncertainties associated with divorce. 
    It provides emotional support and facilitates communication, 
    while helping the couple make decisions that are best for the 
    children, themselves and the family finances. 

    A team of Collaborative Professionals, made up of legal and 
    mental health experts, guides the parties to a mutually agreeable 
    divorce settlement. Given that the outcome will impact lives long 
    after the divorce is final, the goal is to help both parties make 
    thoughtful and proactive, rather than emotionally reactive 

    Collaborative Attorneys represent each party in negotiating the 
    terms of the divorce, collaborating with the other party's attorney 
    and the professional team to identify and address the needs of the 
    family unit. The attorneys commit not to represent the parties 
    should the divorce proceedings go to court, ensuring that all are 
    focused on the success of the process.

    A Family Specialist sits on the team (this would be a family 
    therapist or psychologist), whose role is to help the parties 
    communicate more effectively and deal with stress or other 
    emotional issues that may create impasses. Therapists also fulfill 
    critical roles as Child Experts in representing the interests and 
    needs of the children and serving as parenting guides and 

    Each spouse selects a Collaborative Attorney to serve as their 
    personal legal representative. One Family Specialist serves 
    both the husband and wife to serve as their emotional and 
    communication advisor. A Child Expert is typically engaged 
    to speak with the children and provide neutral analysis and 
    advice. All of these professionals are specially trained in 
    collaborative methods and procedures, enabling the family to 
    benefit from their combined practical insights and 

    The entire team is not required in all cases. Various combinations 
    of professionals may be involved, based on the particular needs of 
    the couple and family. As in all aspects of Collaborative Divorce, 
    the prerogative ultimately belongs to the divorcing couple.

    Couples entering a divorce process are typically overwhelmed with 
    anger and resentment, reducing their ability to make decisions or 
    take actions that serve their long-term interests. In instances of low 
    conflict, drafting a divorce agreement through Mediation is clearly 
    the most efficient route.

    In Mediation, however, each party is required to represent 
    themselves, which often breaks down due to power or knowledge 
    imbalances, intimidation or emotionality, driving the couple to 
    litigation. In a court "battle", the parties give up control of the 
    process to an attorney (who has an interest in protracted conflict) 
    and control of the result to a judge who applies laws and precedents 
    that rarely optimally suit the needs of a particular family.

    Collaborative Divorce leaves the parties in charge of their own 
    resolution and destiny. The Collaborative Team suggests and 
    provides creative and appropriate options, solutions and 
    compromises, taking the children's interests into account. The 
    parties decide the terms of their divorce, not the lawyers or judge. 
    When the terms of the agreement are reached, the Collaborative 
    Team translates the parties' decisions into a legally-binding 

    Collaborative Divorce is substantially less costly than going to 
    court, and is unique in being fully focused on the quality of life 
    and ongoing communication of the family members. The 
    professionals function as a single integrated team, sharing 
    information and insights to save time and money and promote 
    the well-being of the couple and children. 

    "Divorcing Peacefully" is based in the Tel Aviv-Sharon region, 
    and includes English speaking therapists and attorneys. Sara 
    Silber is a member of that collaborative-practice group.

    Sara Silber can undertake a few functions on the collaborative 
    team. She can be the Family Specialist on the team or the Child 
    Expert. When not on the team she can serve as the personal 
    therapist for either one of the couple when individual therapy, 
    outside the scope of the collaborative process, is needed.