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Why Collaborative Practice Works

February 28, 2012

image courtesy 89studio/

A few weeks ago, I ran across an article by David Hoffman.  He was writing about the usefulness of collaboration in business disputes, but started his paper with several very good, and, I thought, clear descriptions of why collaboration works so well in family law disputes.

I have attempted to summarize his points and to present them in a format that might fit well during an introductory meeting with clients as a way of introducing collaboration.  After you have read this, if you find it useless, you can make a nifty paper airplane and send it out your office window.

1.     Common Interests – The strong emotional support that results from everyone working together toward a common goal reduces the likelihood that negative emotions will interfere with the process.  Children are particularly affected by these emotions.

2.     Conservation of Resources – Collaboration may be less expensive because the costly portions of the process  are eliminated  (court appearances) or reduced greatly (need for discovery).
3.     Predictable Results – In collaboration, you make the decisions regarding the terms of your divorce.  It follows that the outcome will be more predictable and probably more appropriate for you than if a judge does the decision-making.
4.     Attorneys That Know Each Other Well – The attorneys often know each other and
have good working relationships with each other.  More importantly, they have a common commitment to the collaborative process.
5.     Future Relationships of the Parties – A successful collaboration often results in friendlier
post divorce relationships.  This is especially important for children’s mental health.
6.     Wiser Spending of the Emotional Dollar – All the team members work hard to create an
       atmosphere of peaceful discussions rather than destructive arguments.  Because of this,
expensive battles over minor points rarely, if ever, occur.
7.     Loss of Privacy and Other Intangible Costs – In collaboration, all proceedings are private –
both during and after your divorce.  In litigated cases, all records from court proceedings are open for all, including children, to see, now and in the future.
8.     Negotiations Made Possible – Because the atmosphere in collaboration is generally friendly,
there are many opportunities for negotiation on issues of substantive and emotional importance.

Robert Rutman PHD is a Mental Health Professional based in Hermosa Beach CA. as well as a member of A Better Divorce.  His primary goal as a divorce coach is to help his client move smoothly through the divorce process from beginning to end.

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