meet with your respective lawyers.

In the first session, you’ll talk with your lawyer about the reasons for seeking collaborative divorce. Your lawyer will answer any questions you have and reach out to your spouse’s lawyer to schedule your first conference.

Meet with your spouse and his or her lawyer.

Collaboratively at this session, the lawyers will set forth the guidelines for the collaborative process. The parties and the lawyers will identify the information that needs to be exchanged and discuss and agree upon any necessary ground rules.

Identify issues and develop understanding.

The parties and their lawyers will specify each of the issues to be resolved. On an issue by issue basis, the lawyers will attempt to understand as fully as possible each party's point of view as well as his and her needs, interests, and priorities. The lawyers also assist the parties in understanding each other.

Explore interests and consider options.

With further discussion, the parties explore their interests, and, in view of their own priorities, develop various options that best serve their present and future needs.

Resolution and consensus.

During the last step, the parties consider possible options and choose those that work for them and that do not cause the other party to give up something that is important to him or her. These choices are then incorporated into an agreement that is drawn up by one of the attorneys. When the agreement is satisfactory to both parties, they sign the agreement and move on to the next phase of their lives.