About The Collaborative Divorce Process

There are times when you need an advocate by your side, but you still want to work with your spouse to resolve your divorce. Collaborative may be the answer. Collaborative divorce is a team-based approach. You and your spouse each have an attorney, and along with other professionals, you agree to negotiate in a confidential, out-of-court process to create solutions that work for both of you. The collaborative approach is designed to preserve both of your interests and needs.

How Does It Work?

  • Each party hires his/her own collaborative attorney (a divorce lawyer trained in the collaborative law process). Just like in traditional divorce, a lawyer's job is to try to get the most favorable outcome for his or her client.
  • Both parties and their respective collaborative family law attorneys sign a contract that states they are committed to using cooperative techniques instead of combative tactics to negotiate the issues. The contract is called a Participation Agreement .
  • In the collaborative process, a series of meetings take place between both spouses and their divorce lawyers, along with other outside professionals as needed (such as financial professionals, child development specialists and mental health professionals) to negotiate and try to come to agreement on the issues.
  • Together, the team develops a comprehensive settlement agreement that resolves parenting and financial issues.


"The success of a Collaborative Process depends largely on the quality of the team that the attorneys put together that work in conjunction to successfully guide the clients from start to finish. We work with professionals that are not only knowledgeable, but are sensitive to our clients’ needs and bring integrity to negotiation."
- Donna L. Buttler

When Should I Use A Collaborative Divorce Process?

  • You and your spouse share a commitment to settle. Collaborative works when you and your spouse wish to avoid the very public negotiation process that often occurs in a litigation setting such as a courthouse, working instead to find common interests and to resolve your conflicts in a way that is respectful of each of your concerns and goals. The collaborative process is private and flexible so you can achieve a successful solution without the court imposing its terms.
  • You both can see the other's point of view. Collaborative divorce uses an interest-based approach to negotiation whereby each of you, with the help of your attorney, presents your goals and interests. The professionals then work together toward reaching each party's objectives. When factors including financial limitations make that impossible, the professionals will aid in prioritizing those interests that have the greatest impact on your life and develop options to meet them.
  • You cannot use mediation, but still want to avoid litigation. If your case is problematic and you cannot use mediation due to a dishonest, aggressive, uncooperative or reluctant spouse, but you both still want to avoid litigation, the collaborative law process might be worth trying. If you are uncomfortable about attending negotiation sessions without the help of an advocate, the collaborative method will ensure that one is by your side and in your corner. Having one of our experienced collaborative attorneys with you and educating you before every session may provide you the support to be successful in the collaborative process.
  • You want legal advice and an advocate to represent you and only you. Since your collaborative lawyer will be representing you and only you, she can give you advice throughout the proceedings and advocate on your behalf if that is what you want. At the Law Offices of Donna L. Buttler, LLC, we have the experience to provide you the tools you need, whether it is legal knowledge, a creative parenting plan or a unique financial division. We have both worked in the collaborative community for more than 15 years and have the knowledge to make the process work for you.

To schedule your initial consultation, call our Farmington Valley, Connecticut, office at 860-404-6134 or contact us through our online form now.