In a collaborative divorce, each party has his or her own lawyer. The rules of the game are similar to those of mediation: the process is confidential and each party should be completely open with the other about how matters stand. They should deal with each other respectfully and the interests of the children are of paramount importance. The collaborative divorce is different from mediation because a coach is appointed who is present at all meetings. The coach’s job is primarily to support and coach the people (and their emotions) and he or she will also talk with the children.
A good alternative to mediation
A collaborative divorce is a good alternative to mediation if there is any significant imbalance between the partners in terms of knowledge, emotion or strength. It often happens that one partner looks after the entire family finances and the other partner does not get involved in this at all. What can then happen in a mediation is that the subordinate party may not feel sufficiently protected by the mediator due to lack of knowledge. Also, if one party doesn’t feel sufficiently resilient against the other party because of dominant behaviour, or if one is better at expressing himself or herself than the other, mediation is often less satisfactory. For cases where the parties value absolute privacy and confidentiality, as happens with very wealthy clients or people with nationwide reputations, a collaborative divorce may be the answer.
Introduced by Marjoleine de Boorder
Marjoleine de Boorder introduced this new form of divorce in the Netherlands and has long been chair of the Dutch Association of Collaborative Professionals (VvCP). A number of lawyers in our firm are collaborative divorce lawyers and members of this Association. Priska Voskuil currently sits on the board of this Association.