Collaborative Divorce Brings Interdisciplinary Approach to Divorce


The collaborative divorce process is an interdisciplinary approach to divorce because of its nature. We bring together a team of highly qualified professionals to help guide and support you through the divorce process. In collaborative divorce, each spouse has an attorney who helps the parties reach an agreement, rather than engage in an adversarial process.

The process of collaborative divorce brings the interdisciplinary approach because of the use of a team of professionals rather than only one. After securing legal representation for each spouse, the spouses and their attorneys enter into an agreement to work together to resolve all of the issues of the divorce, including child custody, child support, spousal support, and property division. Both parties must be willing to negotiate and work together to achieve a mutually agreeable arrangement for the collaborative process to be effective.  However, collaborative divorce is not limited in its use to only amicable situations.  Even when there is tension and conflict between spouses, with the guidance of experienced professionals, agreements can be reached.  Collaborative divorce also has the benefit of being cost effective. The necessary tasks of the collaborative process are assigned to professional specialists without the duplication that happens in litigation, resulting in cost savings for both parties.

It is important to understand that the collaborative divorce approach does not involve fighting. It is part of the agreement that neither of the spouses, or their collaborative divorce attorneys will not engage in an adversarial process. The goal is to work together to create the best resolution for your family as possible, in a peaceful environment. In addition to each spouse and their respective attorneys, additional professionals are brought into the team to streamline the collaborative divorce process.  A financial planner, who acts a financial neutral will gather and assimilate all important financial information such as income, assets, business valuation, and debts. Using a financial planner to gather this information also makes the collaborative divorce process less expensive than traditional litigation. The team will also utilize the experience of a mental health professional to assist in reducing stress and improve the efficiency of communication. This person does not provide counseling for either party, and will only aid in communication. If either party should need counseling services, referrals to experienced counselors will be given.

Collaborative divorce frequently requires several group meetings to reach a mutually agreeable settlement. Once the terms have been agreed upon, the attorneys will draft a settlement agreement for both parties to sign. The settlement agreement is then signed by the judge and becomes the final judgment of divorce. Hugh O’Donnell has been helping couples gain the benefits of collaborative divorce in Kansas City since 2001, when he introduced the process to Missouri and Kansas, as well as training other attorneys in the process. If you feel collaborative divorce may be right for you, call Hugh F. O’Donnell Family Law at (816) 533-5152 or schedule a consultation on his website.