Collaborative Divorce

What is a Collaborative Divorce?

Collaborative divorce is the newest method of alternative dispute resolution in family law. It can best be described as a method of practicing law in which the lawyers for both sides (parties) agree to assist the clients to resolve conflicts by employing cooperative techniques rather than adversarial strategies and litigation. All of the people involved commit themselves to achieving a negotiated outcome. It is agreed that no litigation will be commenced during the negotiations.

​The parties and their lawyers enter into a “Participation Agreement” where it is agreed that if a settlement is not reached, the lawyers will withdraw from the process and not participate in the ensuing litigation. It is understood by all involved that the lawyers’ retainers are limited to settlement negotiations. The other integral component to collaborative divorce is it also includes a mental health facilitator and a financial neutral.

What is a Collaborative Divorce Facilitator?

​The Collaborative Facilitator is one of the Collaborative team’s two neutrals. Being a neutral frees up the other professionals to focus on their areas of expertise and allows the attorneys to focus on your desired solution. The Collaborative facilitator will facilitate at all of the meetings lending her/ his neutral voice to the negotiation and bringing their specific background and skill set they serve many integral roles in the collaborative divorce process including:

  • Process management: coordinating all joint meetings
  • Emotional management: creating a safe space for constructive conversation
  • Parenting facilitator: developing a parenting plan and preparing parties for co-parenting
  • Communication Coach: developing communication skills

Dr. Carswell is trained as Collaborative Divorce facilitator and has facilitated several collaborative divorces to amicable resolutions. In addition to her expertise in mental health Dr. Carswell also brings a unique background of experience working in the intersection of family law and psychology. She had several years of experience doing court ordered child custody evaluations and brief focused evaluations for the courts. Through this experience she got in depth experience and training in parenting plans and child development and co-parenting. ​

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