Collaborative Divorce
Statement of Understanding

Goal of collaborative Alternatives:
The goal of collaborative divorce is to help the divorcing couple to work successfully within the collaborative Practice structure to achieve a positive resolution that minimizes the negative economic, social, and emotional consequences the family often experiences in the traditional adversarial divorce process.

In order to accomplish this goal, three independent disciplines work together as a team to integrate the legal, emotional, and financial aspects of divorce.

The role of the Collaborative Divorce Coaches:
Collaborative Divorce Coaches will work with the couple to:

  1. Identify and prioritize the concerns of each person.
  2. Make effective use of conflict resolution skills.
  3. Develop effective co-parenting skills.
  4. Work collaboratively with the couple, their lawyers and other involved professionals to enhance communication and reduce misunderstandings.
  5. Direct their best efforts towards keeping the collaborative process moving toward resolution. (Note: although you will be working with a licensed mental health professional, that professional will be working with you in the role of a divorce coach, not a psychotherapist.)

Role of the Child Specialist:
The Collaborative Divorce Child Specialist’s primary responsibility is to the child and, thus, is and advocate for the child in the process. The Collaborative Divorce Child Specialist will also:

  1. Provide the child an opportunity to voice his/her concerns regarding the divorce.
  2. Provide parents with information and guidance to help their child through the divorce.
  3. Give information to the parents and the team that will help in developing an effective co-parenting plan. (Note: Although the child specialist is a licensed mental health professional, the specialist will not be providing therapy for your child.)

Role of the Financial Specialist:
The collaborative divorce financial specialist is the only neutral on the team who works with clients to:

  1. Provide on-going practical financial guidance, planning support and budgeting throughout the divorce process.
  2. Assist with gathering of financial information.
  3. Provide financial scenarios for clients and lawyers to consider in their decision-making process.

The role of the collaborative law lawyer:

  1. Represents the best interests of his/her respective client while maintaining the overall goal of the collaborative process.
  2. Works collaboratively with the other collaborative law lawyer and the collaborative divorce team.
  3. Provides legal coaching and guidance.

Case Manager

One of your coaches will be acting as case manager to keep your case on track and serve as a point person for the team.

Responsibility of the Client
Each party involved in the divorce is aware that he/she needs to:

1. Abide by the standard California Family restraining orders required by all divorcing couples which states that he or she may not:

a. Remove the minor child or children of the parties from the state without the prior written consent of the other party or an order of the court.

b. Cash, borrow against, cancel, transfer, dispose of, or change the beneficiaries of any insurance or other coverage including life, health, automobile, and disability held for the benefit of the parties and their minor children or child.

c. Transfer, encumber, hypothecate, conceal, or in any way dispose of any property, real or personal, whether community, quasi community, or separate, without the written consent of the other party or an order of the court, except in the usual course of business, or the necessities of life.

2. Maintain the confidentiality of all content (written or oral) of the sessions in that under no circumstances will any of this content be used in any future adversarial process.

3. Work for the best interests of the family as a whole.

4. Provide necessary documents in a timely manner.

5. Be honest and forthcoming in all communications relating to the divorce.


1. Both parties agree to sign confidentiality waivers with the collaborative divorce coaches to waive privilege with each team member involved in the process. The specifics of this will be discussed before the confidentiality waivers are signed. The purpose of having signed waivers is to be able to speak freely with the different professionals involved to facilitate a team approach.

2. All materials without these specific waivers remain closed and confidential in accordance with California and U.S. Federal laws. Privileges may be waived in the following situations:

a. If there is a reason to believe you are in danger of hurting yourself.

b. If you express an intention to hurt someone else.

c. If there is reasonable suspicion a child is being abused.

d. If you have knowledge that someone you know plans to harm another person.

3. Should either party elect to move from the collaborative divorce process toward a court process, all materials, including all content (both written and oral) of counseling sessions, remain confidential and may not be used in any court proceedings.