Vancouver Collaborative Divorce

What is the Collaborative Process?

The Collaborative Process, also known as Collaborative Divorce or Collaborative Law, began more than 20 years ago with the recognition that families facing separation and divorce were poorly served by the traditional litigation process. The litigation process often left too much destruction in its wake while consuming too much of clients' time and resources. The Collaborative Process emerged as a less destructive way for spouses to separate and divorce. It is a process based on achieving a no-court settlement through joint and respectful negotiations between spouses and their collaborative professionals.

Who Is Collaborative Practice For?

The Collaborative Process is for spouses who want to avoid the potentially destructive and costly consequences of a traditional litigated and adversarial separation and divorce, and for spouses who want to protect their children from the negative long-term consequences of that adversarial process.

It does not matter whether a separation or divorce is simple or complicated. The Collaborative Process is effective and provides a structured, supportive and non-adversarial process for resolving issues with any degree of complexity. Where there are children involved, the Collaborative Process places the children in the center and not in the middle.

Collaborative Practice is appropriate for the dissolution of all relationships including married, unmarried, long term, short term and same-sex. It is also ideally suited to address the unique cultural and religious values of particular families.

How Does Collaborative Practice Work?

The concept is simple—tailor the process to the spouses and not the other way around! Give the lawyers a joint mandate to empower their clients to create their own agreement. Spouses pledge not to go to court, to agree to an honest exchange of financial information and to commit to work on a resolution that meets the priorities of both spouses and their children.

Most of the work is done in meetings with the Collaborative professionals and the clients around a table. The Collaborative Lawyers strive to create a respectful and safe environment because that is where the most durable and reasonable agreements are reached by spouses. We explore not just legal entitlements and obligations but also goals and interests to assist spouses in transitioning out of their relationship with a measure of dignity in a process that delivers value.

The foundation of Collaborative Practice is the Participation Agreement. The Participation Agreement is a contract signed by both lawyers and both spouses which provides that:

  • The parties agree not to go or threaten to go to court.
  • Negotiations are in good faith with complete transparency. Open discussion is encouraged, all of which is confidential and only an agreement in writing, signed and witnessed, can be enforced.
  • The parties, in one simple paragraph, agree not to dispose of any property and not to change any beneficiary designations.
  • If an impasse occurs and either party withdraws from the process, both lawyers must withdraw.
  • If needed, the parties retain one neutral financial specialist or one neutral child specialist.

Who Is the Collaborative Practice Team?

Collaborative Practice is a cost- and time-effective team-based approach to assisting clients and their children. It is multi-disciplinary involving lawyers, divorce coaches, a neutral child specialist or financial specialist.

While lawyers are always involved, the construction of the team will usually be determined by the facts and issues to be resolved.

Collaborative Divorce Vancouver Resources

Take a look at these sites for further information:


Collaborative Divorce Vancouver

How Do I Get Started?

The first step is an initial consultation with a collaborative lawyer or divorce coach. You may go to the Our Team section of our website, select a collaborative professional and contact her/ him directly, or schedule a consultation with a member of Collaborative Divorce Network.

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Your Team


Collaborative Divorce Network



Shelley Behr

Divorce Coach/Child Specialist


Garth Edwards



Robert W. Mostar



Deirdre Severide



Danny Zack


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