Family Law


Collaborative Divorce or Collaborative Family Law is not so much about the divorce itself being collaborative, but rather how the couple goes about resolving those thorny issues.  Most of us understand what an adversarial divorce looks like.  The process can be expensive, time-consuming and heartbreakingly toxic.  Children are often collateral damage.  

Collaborative Divorce is a different approach.  It does not mean everyone is happy.  Nor does it mean that the spouses agree on everything.  It does mean that the spouses agree to work together to resolve their dispute privately, respectfully and collaboratively.

Unlike a personal injury lawsuit where the parties will have no involvement after the case is over, a separating couple may be linked together for years through their children. There may be graduations, weddings and grandchildren in the future.  If the divorcing couple can maintain some degree of civility and respect for each other after the divorce, their children are the beneficiaries of that goodwill.

When a family becomes adversarial, the children experience the stress and conflict between their parents.  Litigation prolongs the adversarial relationship and the children must live within that conflict.  Children are not immune to the trauma of divorce.

Collaborative Divorce is a new way of looking at an old problem.  When separating parents choose a Collaborative Divorce, they are able to identify common ground, such as their love and concern for their children.  The children are able to see their parents working together to solve problems even though they are in conflict. A Collaborative approach to separation and divorce provides distinct benefits for the children involved.

1) The Collaborative process allows the parties to preserve a working relationship.  With parents sharing custody of their children, litigation often makes co-parenting more difficult or impossible.

2) Children learn much from watching their parents. The lessons of toxic litigation are not lessons we want our children to learn.  The Collaborative approach teaches the children about communication, respect and problem-solving.

3) When their parents become adversaries, their children experience conflict.  Children feel the pull to pick a side.  Because they presumably love both parents, this tug-of-war is especially difficult and confusing for children.  A Collaborative Divorce can remove the children from the middle of the conflict and more clearly address the best interests of those children.

If preserving a healthy co-parenting relationship is important to you, a Collaborative Divorce may be your best path.  If you can get through your separation and divorce knowing the kids are alright, it makes all the other issues less important and easier to resolve. To learn more about Collaborative Divorce, please contact Irvine Law Firm.