The Sky is the Limit with Collaborative Law

What does it mean to say, “The sky is the limit?” When you say the sky is the limit, you mean there is no limit or end to something, especially somebody’s success or progress. There are many options to choose from to get a divorce. The Collaborative Divorce process is one such choice gaining momentum in recent times. For Collaborative clients and Collaborative professionals, the Collaborative Law Process busts through limits traditional dispute resolution imposes on solutions, success, creativity, flexibility, important long-term civil relationships, and family well-being.

Why is the Collaborative Divorce Process Gaining Momentum?

The Collaborative Divorce Process is gaining momentum because, in its most basic form, it is a non-adversarial way for lawyers to protect families and preserve future relationships. It all began in 1990, when Stu Webb, a Minneapolis family lawyer, refused to keep representing a divorce client if the opposing party resorted to litigation. Instead, he urged lawyers to focus their efforts on finding creative solutions to help divorcing couples. His trailblazing “Collaborative” approach paved the way for others and changed history in ways even a visionary like he was surely couldn’t have imagined.

What are the Core Values and Principles of Collaborative Law?

It helps seeing the sky when grounded in the core values and principles of the Collaborative Law Process. They are:

  • Respecting and treating with dignity the other spouse and professionals in the process;
  • Fully disclosing all relevant financial and other information to make informed decisions;
  • Committing to meeting the family’s needs;
  • Maintaining privacy and confidentiality;
  • Having direct communication between the participants (spouses) and the professionals; and
  • Using interest-based negotiation rather than positional bargaining. Interest-based negotiation focuses on understanding each other’s needs and finding solutions where everyone wins. In positional bargaining, people stick to fixed positions and are competing to win.

What else?

  • There must be a participation agreement signed by the participants (spouses) with a disqualification clause stating that the lawyers and other collaborative professionals on the team will not be allowed to and agree they won’t litigate the case. This restriction motivates the lawyers and other professionals to focus their efforts on helping clients reach a global settlement.
  • The participants must agree to have good faith negotiations and to use problem-solving skills.
  • Each client has her/his own lawyer during the negotiation process/team meetings.
  • A neutral facilitator is typically retained jointly by the clients to facilitate an efficient and peaceful process.
  • Clients often benefit from also having a neutral financial professional help them work through gathering and understanding relevant financial information and developing financial settlement options.

These core values and principles ground the interdisciplinary team of professionals to “coach” the spouses successfully through the divorce process. From this foundation, a horizon of possibilities stretches beyond traditional limits.

The Collaborative lawyers combine their efforts with a collaboratively-trained neutral facilitator (i.e. a licensed mental health professional, coach, or communications expert), a financial neutral, allied professionals, and a child specialist, if needed. Drawing from this wide range of broad and specialized skills, these professionals unite. Together they create a harmonious collaboration that allows for moving past limited, rigid solutions, and embracing creativity, innovation, self-respect, dignity and, most important, a fresh start for the clients.

People like you can use the process to resolve other family issues, including disputes between parents, paternity cases, estate planning, or drawing up of pre- and post-nuptials. Many couples prefer to begin their marriage life with documents drawn up consensually and mutually.

What are some Benefits of the Collaborative Law process?

The Collaborative Law process is different as compared to traditional litigation because it promotes mutual respect, gives the participants great control of the process, and keeps them out of hostile court battles, while providing a cost-effective way to divorce. And the Collaborative process allows the soon-to-be ex-spouses to maintain healthy and peaceful relationships as they start a new chapter in their life.

Collaborative Divorce versus Uncontested Divorce

Because Collaborative Divorce is perceived as non-confrontational, it may be confused with uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce is a dissolution of marriage process where both spouses agree to the terms of the divorce or one party files and the second party does not respond to the filing and does not appear in court.

But a Collaborative Divorce is not as passive because the spouses do not agree, yet work together to reach an agreement they both can live by. There is always a possibility that they may end up in court if they cannot reach a negotiated settlement. The end goal is for the Collaborative team to help the couple through the divorce process.

Just imagine…

Stu Webb’s vision has inspired a movement that extends far beyond its humble beginnings to where it is now recognized globally. What started with one man’s refusal to play a zero-sum game has led to a new field of law, Collaborative Law, that is defined by uplifting all involved. Stu refused to engage in a system that destroys families, where victory is defined by taking as much as possible from the other side with no remorse.

So, when I say that the “Sky is the Limit,” that applies not only to the people who retain our professional services, but also to us, to our skills, to our network, to our careers, and, most important, to our lives and our well-being.

So, what’s next?

If you’re ready to move forward with your divorce in a respectful, dignified, and private way, reach out for more information at: or email us at: for a free NO-CHARGE 15-minute call.

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