The Collaborative Approach Model

The Collaborative Model uses an interest based negotiation approach, rather than an adversarial approach, to resolve conflict.  Collaborative practice is based on the premise that the family as a whole is in transition.  That whole must now be divided into separate homes and each of the homes must strive to be whole individually.  Thus, a collaborative divorce encourages each party to consider his or her own needs as they relate to the family, undergoing one of its most difficult life transitions. In a collaborative case, attorneys work with the parties to help them identify the needs that created a particular position and to re-focus on those needs for purposes of discussion and negotiation. This mindset is the foundation of “interest-based negotiation,” and it is the core of the Collaborative Model. 

When a party focuses on his or her needs, that party can reconnect to the reasons he or she formulated a certain position and let go of the attachment to that particular outcome. Each party is then free to take a step back and reexamine the issues. This allows the parties to explore the issues more freely and find out whether there is any point of common ground. When not attached to particular outcomes, each party is able to hear and consider what needs are important to the other, to incorporate his or her own needs into the discussion, and to explore a variety of different options.