By Macie Ellis 

The Florida Academy of Collaborative Professionals (FACP) recently hosted the 8th annual conference on Peacemaking Lessons from the War Room. The opening speaker, Lieutenant Colonel Katie Crombe, spoke about her experiences in the war room. She emphasized that peace must be fostered. A peaceful divorce requires respect and the ability to work together amicably before and after the divorce agreement is signed. Lieutenant Colonel Crombe further explained that during the peacemaking process, respect is essential to “sustaining dignity.” As a law student and graduate student in social work, Colonel Crombe’s words resonate with me because dignity is a central element to supporting and empowering clients. The Collaborative process does just this—it supports everyone involved to reach resolutions while promoting peace and dignity. 

Are you looking for a way to peacefully dissolve your marriage?

If you answered “yes”, the Collaborative process may be a good fit for you and your family.  

You may be asking yourself, “what is the Collaborative process, and what does it involve?” The Collaborative process focuses on dispute resolution outside the courtroom with the help of a team of Collaboratively trained professionals. 

One advantage of the Collaborative process is that a team is constructed to fit the needs of the family. Generally, a team consists of a neutral facilitator/mental health professional, a neutral financial professional, and two attorneys. If children are involved, a neutral child specialist can be added to the team. Collaborative professionals recognize that family dynamics vary and require a unique approach. After a personalized team is formed, a series of three to five team meetings take place lasting approximately two hours each. The team then works together to collaboratively reach solutions through a series of negotiations. 

What is the success rate of Collaborative cases? 

Another excellent advantage of the Collaborative process is its success rate. 92% of reported Florida Collaborative cases concluded with a full settlement agreement. This means that there is no need to put yourself through the stress of adversarial court proceedings, which can cause a significant strain on your bank account and emotional state. 

Success is found not only in the outcome but the journey. For many families that journey is filled with division, deception, and damage. The Collaborative process reshapes the divorce narrative and opens the door of opportunity to promote peace and maintain dignity throughout divorce. There is no need to sacrifice the emotional well-being of yourself or your children to an adversarial divorce. 

Is the Collaborative process a good fit for you and your family? 

Folks say that it takes two people to decide to get married but only one to get divorced. There is no question that divorce is difficult. Some people might compare it to an emotional rollercoaster—denial, shock, bargaining, letting go, and most importantly, acceptance. Divorce can be emotionally, physically, and financially draining, but it doesn’t have to be. Both spouses will rarely be at the same stage of grief, creating a complicated emotional dynamic, and so including a neutral facilitator/mental health professional is beneficial. 

As a student who has studied and witnessed the impact of divorce on children, I recognize and appreciate the benefits of the Collaborative process. Seeing children being torn between two parents going through a divorce is gut-wrenching and unnecessary. The Collaborative process supports families using a holistic approach that addresses the family’s distinct needs and desires. Not only does the Collaborative process provide support, it also aids in mitigating the impact of divorce on children, and decreasing spousal stress. It’s about giving the spouses room to discuss their desires while a team of qualified professionals offer neutral advice to reach decisions that benefit the family unit.

What are your next steps? 

You are not alone in this. Divorce is a challenging, life-changing decision for everyone involved. Collaborative professionals are here to answer your questions, explain your options, and provide support for you and your family. The goal of the Collaborative process to facilitate clients in reaching balanced, respectful, and sustainable solutions without the hassle of going to court. If the Collaborative process resonates with you, or you think it would be a good fit for someone else, it may be a good time to set up a consultation with a local Collaborative attorney. 

A list of Collaborative attorneys in Florida can be found at: https://www.collaborativepracticeflorida.com/find-a-professional/

Macie Ellis is a joint degree student at IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law and IU School of Social Work located in Indianapolis, IN. After graduation, she aspires to carry out her passion for advocacy and empowering others.