The method known as collaborative divorce (hereinafter: "CD") is primarily a commitment to negotiations without legal proceedings. This method was founded by Stu Webb, an American family lawyer, in the 1990s, during which a change in the perception of legal profession in the United States and Canada began and a new role for Problem-Solving lawyers emerged. Lawyers, who recognize the limitations inherent in the legal process and the remedial damages that can be caused by it, and as a result, have adopted various methods that combine therapeutic principles in their work. This is due, among other things, to the perception that a family dispute cannot be solved only by legal or therapeutic means, but by its very nature is required to integrate these knowledge worlds.These lawyers saw their role as providing clients with advice in order to locate the appropriate procedure for dealing with the dispute, to clarify the interests and to examine the obstacles to compromise. After the clarification, the lawyer must advise the client to choose the most effective procedure.
The goal at the heart of the divorce negotiations in this method is that the family should not be destroyed by the divorce process and to concentrate on the future, in post-divorce life. The parties are at the center of the process. The professionals accompanying the parties in order is to help them conduct free negotiations, out of understanding their needs and the needs of others.
How does it work?
Collaborative divorce practice is usually described as a unique, voluntary process that differs from other dispute resolution methods, with the lawyers representing the couple commitment not to represent them in court if the process fails and they fail to reach agreements. This commitment distinguishes between CD and other methods of conflict resolution and constitutes the essence and heart of the system, whose applications are many and varied.
The emphasis is on the commitment of the professionals accompanying the divorcees and is included in the participation agreement in the process, which the spouses and professionals sign at the beginning of the process. The obligation is described as: The disqualification clause.
As with other conflict resolution methods, CD seeks to empower divorced couples and enable them to take responsibility for their communication and solutions to end their relationship within the emotional chaos in which they are located. However, unlike other methods of conflict resolution, this method attempts to deal differently with the reluctance of genuine cooperation in traditional negotiations.In general, the natural reluctance to cooperate in negotiations stems from the fear that real cooperation will be exploited by the other side, which can benefit from exposing the information and expressing good will to win the balance.The disqualification clause attempts to dispel these concerns. The purpose of the disqualification clause is to transmit a credible message to the other party that there is no intention of misleading or using the information against it. As a result, it is possible to create a safe place for conducting open and genuine negotiations on the basis of needs and interests in order to reach a long-term agreement.
Practically speaking, the process begins when each spouse chooses the staff to accompany him in the process: a family lawyer and sometimes a family therapist and other professionals (usually a finance specialist) who have been trained in the method and are knowledgeable and experienced in conflict resolution in alternative ways (Hereinafter: "the Team").
In the next stage, the couple and the team sign a participation agreement that includes a disqualification clause and a commitment not to apply to the court as long as the process is underway. This is not a waiver of the right of go to courts in a general and sweeping manner, but rather a waiver of the representation by the specific lawyers in case the process fails.
Other unique elements of the method are a broad perspective of the "good of the client" which includes, with the client's consent, the best interests of the entire family, and the commitment of the couple and the team to cooperate and not to conduct competitive negotiations. The cooperation between the team members is ensured by the rules of negotiation detailed in the participation agreement.
The integration of the mental health personnel into the professional team in CD is intended to facilitate the rebuilding of the communication between the parents, who must continue to maintain a parent system in place of the marital system that ends, to create a parental plan that will meet the unique needs of the family and bridge the gaps emotional relationship between the divorces.