The Collaborative Divorce Process is a new way for you to resolve disputes respectfully — without letting a judge decide the fate of your family — while working with collaboratively trained professionals who work to support you and your family through the legal, financial, emotional, and parenting issues.
The heart of Collaborative Practice or Collaborative Divorce Process (also called “no-court divorce,” “divorce with dignity,” “peaceful divorce”) is to offer you and your spouse or partner the support, protection, and guidance of your own lawyers without going to court. Additionally, Collaborative Divorce allows you the benefit of child and financial specialists, divorce coaches and other professionals all working together to help you to identify and meet your goals.
Collaborative Divorce process helps you and your spouse to thoughtfully address important issues such as:
Negotiate a mutually acceptable settlement without having courts decide issues.
Maintain open communication and information sharing.
Create shared solutions acknowledging the highest priorities of all.
Will it work for me?
Divorce is a sensitive personal matter. No single approach is right for everyone. Many couples do find the no-court process known as Collaborative Practice (Collaborative Law/Collaborative Divorce) a welcome alternative to the often destructive, uncomfortable aspects of conventional divorce.
If these values are important to you, the Collaborative Divorce Process is likely to be a workable option for you:
I believe that families don’t belong in court.
I want to maintain the tone of respect, even when we disagree.
I want to prioritize the needs of our children.
My needs and those of my spouse require equal consideration, and I will listen objectively.
I believe that working creatively and cooperatively solves issues.
It is important to reach beyond today’s frustration and pain to plan for the future.
I can behave ethically toward my spouse.
I choose to maintain control of the divorce process with my spouse, and not relegate it to the courts.
Does this path sound and feel comfortable for you?
View the Collaborative Practice Brochure
*NOTE: The E-brochure is an interactive web file which is designed to function much like a book. To flip the pages of the e-brochure, you will use your cursor. Roll over the right-hand corner of the page (you will notice the corner will begin to bend) and click. While holding the click, turn the page – just like a book. A one-click on the corners will also move you to the next page, as will the arrow keys on your keyboard.
THE COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE COACH
The Collaborative Divorce Coach is a skilled practitioner, with training in the interdisciplinary collaborative practice model, whose role it is to facilitate effective communication and interactions working with families. The collaborative coach is knowledgeable about the specific dynamics and issues related to divorce. In this role, coaches are not acting as therapists, but are using their training and skills to help the clients work through their emotions about the ending of the marriage and focus on identifying long-term needs and interests for themselves, for each other, for their children and for other family members. Coaches help the clients prepare to participate meaningfully in the collaborative process.
In the “Collaborative Divorce” model, there is a neutral coach who works with the parties together. The coaching goal is to prepare and help the parties to work effectively with each other in the collaborative process. If children are involved, the coaching also focuses on helping the clients develop a more effective long-term parenting relationship.
A coach is not and cannot be the individual therapist for either client, even after the settlement agreement is signed. There may be a need in the future for modifications to the agreement or help with the clients’ ongoing relationships with each other or with the children.
Listen to a Pennsylvania Psychological Association Ethics and Psychology podcast about the Collaborative Coach with Lori Gephart interviewed by John Gavazzi.
The Coach as a Member of the Collaborative Team:
The coach helps the client (individually) and/or the clients (together) identify and discuss feelings and issues about the separation/divorce, think through emotionally charged issues, and manage anger and distress. The coach teaches communication skills for the clients to use in the divorce negotiations and in their ongoing relationship – as co-parents or otherwise. The coach provides parenting education so that the impact of divorce on the children is minimized.
The coach works with the two attorneys so that they understand how best to approach and respond to each client, to identify sensitive and “hot button” issues, and is available to help if an emotional crisis arises that interferes with reaching a comprehensive settlement. Referring clients to a coach or coaches to deal with the relationship and emotional issues is a prudent and cost-effective use of resources. Clients often have emotional issues to address before they can sit together and plan a restructuring of their family, assets and finances.
Adding coaching for separating/divorcing spouses gives the clients the professionals best suited to addressing specific needs. Mental health professionals and attorneys each have specialized abilities for supporting and encouraging a truly lasting agreement between the clients to meet the needs and interests of their restructured family, long-term.
If you are interested in the Collaborative Process of Divorce Resolution, let our professional peacemakers help. We are dedicated to working with integrity and respect to foster healthy communication and resolutions for families in the Pittsburgh area.
Loretta “Lori” Gephart, M.A., Licensed Psychologist, is a Collaborative Divorce Coach and a member of the Collaborative Law Association of Southwestern Pennsylvania, where she is the current president and a trainer for Collaborative Basic Training. She is also a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. She is a founding member of Gateway to Collaboration, a nonprofit corporation dedicated to educating others about the Collaborative Divorce Process and a founding member of Collaborative Solutions North, an association of like-minded professionals who are committed to assisting individuals in working through their differences without going to court. This includes divorcing couples and parents, as our core constituency, but also can apply to heirs, businesses and others in conflict. Lori is ready to work with your family to help you reach an agreement for a healthier divorce. Appointments are available in our Wexford and Pittsburgh offices.
Professionals interested in Basic Training in Collaborative Practice click here.