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.
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.