The essence of Collaborative Family Law is a pledge by both parties and their attorneys to reach a settlement without the involvement of the Court. They agree to work together in good faith, following a process that enables them to retain their self-respect and control over the outcome.

Divorce will always remain a significant life event. But there is life after divorce. Collaborative Family Law helps the parties embrace the future by providing them with a less destructive way to resolve issues and get on with life.




It is a process of divorcing in which both parties and their attorneys pledge in writing to resolve all issues by agreement without the involvement of the Court. the emphasis is on finding mutually-agreeable solutions rather than engaging in a protracted legal battle.

Yes, both parties retain attorneys. In addition to consulting privately with your attorney, you will participate in four-way meetings with your spouse and his/her attorney. The purpose of this is to maintain an atmosphere of cooperation and open communication so that a settlement can be reached that meets the needs of all family members.

Yes. Collaborative Family Law is true to its name in that it involves the counsel of child and family specialists and financial neutrals. You will meet with these other professionals as needed.

Collaborative Family Law recognizes that a marriage may be ending, but that relationships and obligations continue, especially when the family includes children. It seeks to replace the adversarial approach of the typical divorce with a more respectful process that preserves the dignity of both parties. Collaborative Family Law is a solutions-oriented approach that helps couples create a settlement that addresses their family's individual needs.

It can be. The process is designed to be more efficient, with four-way meetings between the parties and their attorneys facilitating a settlement. Collaborative Family Law eliminates the multiple court appearances and conflict that are often part of traditional divorce, thereby reducing the emotional and financial costs. Your Collaborative Family Law attorney is the best source of information about fees and costs.

The spouses and attorneys are bound by a written pledge not to go to court. If agreement can't be reached, Collaborative Family Law attorneys may suggest bringing in mediators to facilitate a settlement. However, if one or both parties wish to litigate, both attorneys are legally obligated to withdraw from the process and can no longer represent their clients. This means that both spouses have to hire new attorneys and follow the traditional divorce process through the court system, adding substantial conflict and expense to the divorce.

Collaborative Family Law assumes that both parties will act in good faith. They agree to this at the start. If one party fails to be honest about any information, it could threaten the continuation of the process under Collaborative Family Law.

An attorney who is a member of the Collaborative Family Law Council of Wisconsin, Inc. will have family law experience. In addition, the attorney will have received special training in Collaborative Family Law. Be sure to ask about your attorney's experience and training if you choose the Collaborative Family Law approach.

In summary, it results in valuable benefits:

  • It establishes a team instead of adversaries. You all work together and retain control of the process.
  • It enables you to bring in expert consultants, such as child and family specialists and financial advisors, to provide valuable perspective.
  • You can schedule meetings without waiting for court dates. This means you generally spend less time, and as a result, less money.
  • Your issues stay within the Collaborative Family Law setting for more privacy and greater confidentiality.
  • You and your spouse shape the agreement together -- which means you both are more likely to honor it and avoid any future returns to court.

The vast majority of cases in mediation do end in a resolution. The process is designed to identify interests and help both parties reach a plan that works. The alternative is often to have a judge impose a solution on both parties that seldom takes your interests into account. Once the process begins, most participants begin to see what motivates each person as opposed to focusing solely on hard, intractable positions that do not contribute to a resolution.


Collaborative divorce encourages the parties to communicate directly and resolve issues without court intervention. Agreements reached by the parties themselves ill better meet the family's needs and have far greater likelihood of long term success than orders imposed by a judge at the end of a court trial. Most importantly, collaborative divorce helps parents work together to focus on the best interests of their children and to avoid the damage caused by ongoing litigation.

Circuit Court Judge - Milwaukee County, Wisconsin

Professionals with extensive experience working in the trenches know there has to be a better way to help people through a difficult process. With Collaborative Family Law, issues are identified and dealt with directly by coaches, attorneys, and child specialists. It's certainly a better alternative.

Psychotherapist and Mediator - Brookfield, Wisconsin

I chose Collaborative Family Law because I wanted a respectful process. My main interest was in our daughter. Ultimately, I did not want to leave a negative legacy. We were able to maintain control of the outcome, rather than accepting the terms of an imposed order. We also realized significant savings by avoiding litigation.

Collaborative Family Law Client - Married 27 years - Madison, Wisconsin

A Collaborative Family Law team seeks 'win-win' solutions, not endless litigation. It works because collaborative lawyers see divorce as a problem to be solved, not a battle to be won. A collaborative team approach offers privacy and respect and supports the promise of a brighter future for all family members.

Attorney - Middleton, Wisconsin

If you have other questions, give us a call at 414-352-4400. Visit the Collaborative Family Law Council of Wisconsin website for more information on the Collaborative Process, view videos on the role of attorneys, child specialists, divorce coaches and financial neutrals in the process.