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THE COLLABORATIVE WAY TO DIVORCE:

The Revolutionary Method that Results in Less Stress,
Lower Cost, and Happier Kids—Without Going to Court
By Stuart G. Webb & Ronald D. Ousky

 

In THE COLLABORATIVE WAY TO DIVORCE: The Revolutionary Method that Results in Less Stress, Lower Cost, and Happier Kids—Without Going to Court (Hudson Street Press; June 2006 , $23.95) collaborative law founder and pioneer Stuart G. Webb & Ronald D. Ousky provide a groundbreaking alterative for the millions of couples with children who face divorce each year—couples who want to avoid litigation, but don’t want to give up on getting what they want.

Compassionate, clear, and comprehensive, THE COLLABORATIVE WAY TO DIVORCE is the first trade book to introduce a dignified, highly strategic solution to divorce-- the collaborative process, a nationally acclaimed approach that is fast transforming how couples dissolve their marriages, divide their assets, and reinvent their post-divorce relationships, particularly when they share custody of their children. Centered around the understanding that the couple will hire their own individual collaborative attorneys—but all are committed, in writing, to settling their differences out of court--THE COLLABORATIVE WAY TO DIVORCE stresses cooperation over confrontation and resolution over revenge. Most importantly, it keeps children out of the controversy, while protecting their best interests.

For the millions of couples who face divorce each year, The Collaborative Way to mDivorce offers an alternative to court—without giving up getting what you want

Even under the best circumstances, divorce can be marked by a range of painful emotions. But research now reveals that how a couple conducts themselves during a divorce has far greater impact on their children than the act of divorcing itself. Groundbreaking and revolutionary, The Collaborative Way to Divorce is the first guide to the Collaborative process, a nationally acclaimed approach based on the concept that both spouses hire legal representation, yet agree to resolve their differences with no intention of ever going to court.

Stressing cooperation over confrontation and resolution over revenge, Collaborative divorce is fast transforming how couples dissolve their marriages, divide their assets, and reinvent their post-divorce relationships, particularly when they have children. Written by Stu Webb, the founder of the Collaborative law movement and Ron Ousky, an early pioneer of the process, The Collaborative Way to Divorce guides you through the steps of the Collaborative process so that you can make better, more informed, and more strategic decisions—resulting in a win-win outcome for you and your spouse.

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“Invented more than a decade ago by Stuart G. Webb, [collaborative divorce] is gaining in popularity around the nation.”-- The New York Times

“An increasingly popular process that is often faster, cheaper, and more private than standard courtroom divorces, not to mention less emotionally taxing.”-- The Wall Street Journal

To see what others are saying about the Collaborative Way to Divorce, click here.

“Every divorcing parent should read this enormously helpful book and learn how hiring the right kind of lawyer—one committed to collaborative problem solving—can reduce the daunting economic and emotional pain of divorce.”
—Robert H. Mnookin, Williston Professor of Law, Chair, Program on Negotiation, Harvard Law School

"If you are considering divorce, the collaborative law process described in this book will show you how to navigate your course to a good divorce.  In this clear step-by-step guide, lawyers Webb and Ousky outline a method for reducing conflict that is certain to have lasting benefits for you and your children."
—Constance R. Ahrons, Ph.D., psychologist and author, The Good Divorce and We're Still Family

"Grounded in practical wisdom, this book illuminates with clarity and kindness a collaborative alternative to traditional litigation. If you care about your kids, value your dignity and seek to shape your own future, The Collaborative Way to Divorce will light your way."
—Talia L. Katz, JD, Executive Director, International Academy of Collaborative Professionals

“A new, much-needed option for divorcing couples is now available. Here are two lawyers who have worked to improve and change the adversary system themselves, creating a more constructive way to manage this difficult life transition. Collaborative divorce should be a serious consideration for anyone divorcing.”
—Vicki Lansky, author of Divorce Book for Parents and It’s Not Your Fault, Koko Bear

“With the distilled clarity with which he created the Collaborative Law model, Stu Webb, along with his co-author Ron Ousky, has created a straightforward and informative introduction to the Collaborative divorce process. This book should be mandatory reading for anyone contemplating divorce and a handbook for anyone who wishes to protect their children and their finances by using the collaborative approach.”
—Chip Rose, J.D. Mediator, Collaborative Attorney, Trainer

To see how the collaborative method differs from traditional divorce as illustrated in The Collaborative Way to Divorce, click here.

The 8 Stages of Divorce

Traditional Divorce

Collaborative Divorce

1) Finding and hiring an attorney
 

Clients conduct separate searches, each aiming to hire an aggressive litigator who is “good in court.”

Clients coordinate their search for attorneys; both agree to hire Collaborative Attorneys.

2) Starting the divorce process
 
 
 
 

Husband or wife prepares (with the help of an attorney) a Summons and Petition. The Summons and Petition are filed with the court and a judge is assigned to case. The spouse then files an Answer and Counter-Petition.

Both clients and their attorneys meet for a four-way conference to discuss how everyone wants the case to proceed. At conference, all parties sign a Participation Agreement, which commits all involved to resolving all issues out of court. If the case cannot be resolved out of court, the attorneys are required to withdraw from the case.
 

3) Addressing temporary issues
(e.g., who will reside in the house, how much time children will spend at each home, etc., while divorce proceedings are taking place)
 
 

Clients who cannot resolve temporary issues on their own or seek relief through a temporary hearing. At the hearing, each client and his/her attorney files a motion and affidavits, then opposing client/attorney argues against spouse’s requests. Finally, all parties go to court, where judge issues temporary order for issues.

Temporary issues handled at one of the initial four-way meetings through an interest based method of conflict resolution that helps the parties focus on common goals.

4) Gathering and exchanging information
(e.g., information about the value of assets, each client’s basic income, monthly expenses for family, etc.)
 

Attorneys collect and exchange information through formal discovery, which includes interrogatories, requests for documents, and depositions.

Each party is required to voluntarily disclose all relevant facts through an informal (and less expensive) exchange of information.

5) Hiring Experts
(To obtain information outside the expertise of their attorneys — the value of their home, business, pension, etc.)
 

Each side may hire its own experts.

Both sides use same, neutral experts, which they have agreed upon together.

6) Negotiating a settlement
 
 
 

Handled by the attorneys and presented as arguments in favor of each of their client’s positions. (Clients not directly involved in settlement discussions.)
 

Worked out by attorneys and clients at four-way meetings, through interest based on negotiation that focuses on common goals.

7) Getting a “final” divorce decree
 
 

If case doesn’t settle, goes to trial, where clients testify/provide more evidence. At end of the trial, attorneys submit written arguments/proposals. Weeks or months after trial, judge issues a decision on all issues.
 

Final divorce documents the result of an agreement devised and signed by both parties.

8) Resolving issues that arise after the divorce
 

Clients must go to court to solve problems.

Clients resolve issues on own, by applying same principals that led to the agreement in the first place.

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