Core Principles of Collaborative Divorce

1. Constructive Settlement

The core purpose of the process is to help people constructively reach settlement through respectful communication, negotiation and compromise. Participants commit to speak, act and communicate in ways that are consistent with attempting to constructively reach settlement. The process is about finding solutions, not attacking, blaming or humiliating clients or the professionals.

2. Common Courtesy

The process is about giving participants a dignified and safe way to express their needs, interests, concerns and questions. Participants commit to treating all other participants with civility and common courtesy.

3. Process

The process is a process that consists of a) agreeing to ground rules, b) gathering information, c) exploring options, d) evaluating options, e) negotiating solutions, and f) documenting agreements – in that order. Participants recognize and commit to following this process in its sequential steps to help all involved make better, durable and more informed decisions.

4. Informed Decisions and Full Disclosure

The process is about helping people make informed decisions. Participants recognize that full disclosure, transparency and documentation are essential to making informed durable decisions and the participants commit to act consistently with the goal of helping all concerned make informed decisions based on full disclosure.

5. Empowered Decisions

Clients making their own empowered decisions is at the core of the collaborative process. The professionals will work to inform, educate and advocate for the clients and the family but the ultimate success or failure of the process rests with the actions and decisions of clients.

6. No Unilateral Decisions on Significant Issues

The participants agree that unilateral decisions regarding important issues concerning the clients’ property or their children create conflict, distrust and controversy. The participants pledge to communicate with each other and obtain mutual consent before taking action on major decisions affecting the clients’ property or their children.

7.  Professionalism, Efficiency and Compensation

The professionals pledge to be prepared, informed and prompt in their dealings with each other and all participants. The professionals and clients pledge to act in ways that promote and improve efficiency and to see to it that the professionals’ bills and retainers are timely paid.

8. Care for the Family

The goal of the process is to help families work through family law problems in ways that are less damaging, less traumatic and less expensive than approaches often used in the traditional litigation process. The professionals pledge to speak, act and communicate in ways that are consistent with the goal of caring for the well-being of the family throughout the process.

9. Respect in the Process

All participants in the process pledge to treat others, in their words and actions, in the same way they would want to be treated.

10. Hope for the Future

The process recognizes that resolving family conflicts can be extremely hard and often involves broken trust, hurt feelings and strong emotions. The professionals pledge that no matter how difficult or challenging the conflict they will aspire to speak, act and communicate in ways that promote the hope that someday, somehow in someway there can be some form of peace for a hurting family.

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