What is The Collaborative Way To Divorce?

By Scott Britan 

The Collaborative way to divorce was invented back in 1990 by a divorce lawyer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His name is Stuart G. Webb. After years of representing clients using the traditional litigation process, and watching his clients grow more angry and resentful with each passing month, he thought to himself, there has to be a better way. His idea became known as the Collaborative Way to Divorce.

The Collaborative way is not just a different way of saying that the clients and the lawyers would be cooperative or nice to each other. No, the Collaborative Way is a whole new model. A whole new method. A whole new concept. This concept allows the parties to stay out of court and it allows the parties to stay out of litigation. In essence, it allows the parties to avoid most if not all of the acrimony and conflict that are inherent in the traditional method of divorcing.

In Stuart Webb’s model each client has their own lawyer, however their lawyer must be specifically trained as a Collaborative lawyer and he or she must agree to follow the rules of the model. In addition, the model requires that there be a neutral Collaborative Divorce Facilitator (CDF) and a Financial Neutral (FN). These four team members are the key to the success of the model.

These team members work together with the clients to assemble, organize, and develop a settlement plan that is truly in the best interests of both clients. It is not a winner take all model.

Instead, it is a model that gives the parties the best chance at having a respectful working relationship at the conclusion of the process. This can be very valuable for both parties especially when there are minor children involved.

At the successful conclusion of the process the agreed upon settlement is then submitted to the court for approval and signature.

For over thirty years this model has helped untold numbers of people through one of life’s most difficult experiences. Thank you Stuart Webb for your contribution to American jurisprudence.