Jeanne M. Browne, Family Law Attorney

Serving Sonoma County for over 25 years

Confidential Contact
(707) 575-5162

Collaborative Practice

Collaborative Team Process

How does it work?

Divorce or the ending of a relationship is a sensitive and personal matter. Collaborative Practice is voluntary and confidential, seeking to reach joint resolution with a commitment by all parties to refrain from going to court. An agreement is signed that states if there is a desire to later pursue a court action, the Collaborative Team will disqualify themselves from future involvement with the case.

Who’s on my Team?

The Collaborative Team consists of the parties, two attorneys, two trained “coaches” (one for each party) to facilitate effective communication, and a neutral financial consultant for asset/debt disclosures, budgeting, and property division considerations. Sometimes parties agree to use one neutral coach instead, or they may request the services of a child specialist to meet with their children, depending on their needs and the recommendation of their counsel.

What’s the Cost?

Each professional is retained individually, each with his/her own hourly rate. While the cost of having all professionals involved may appear high at the beginning of a Collaborative case, because there is a focus of resolution by all involved, this will usually save thousands of dollars in the long run. The litigation process can easily total $50,000 or more for attorney fees and expert costs, depending on the issue in dispute, and it often takes years to complete. (Example: A court appointed expert custody evaluator’s fees for two children are currently averaging between $11,000 to $15,000 in Sonoma County.)

Will this work for me?

Yes, if the following values are important to you and your spouse.

1. I desire that we communicate with a tone of respect with each other and all professionals
2. I want to prioritize the needs of our children and I am willing to seek outside expertise if needed
3. My needs and those of my spouse/partner deserve equal consideration; I will listen objectively.
4. I believe that working creatively and cooperatively is an effective way to resolve conflict
5 It is important for us to get beyond today’s frustration and pain and plan for the future.
6. I can behave ethically in this process, meaning I commit to an open, honest exchange of information
7. I desire that we jointly control our process, instead of asking a judge to decide for us.

Where do I go from here?

Please call my office to set up an appointment: (707) 575-5162