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Collaborative Law, Collaborative Coaching In The GLBT Community

Collaborative law is a process that has been used in the GLBT community for resolving issues between partners and/or co-parents who want permanent, legal separation. This is especially valuable because it circumvents the use of court judges to adjudicate issues of separation where the law has yet to be tested sufficiently for case law to have arrived at reasonable solutions to the issues of rights of community property in domestic partnerships and to healthy resolution of custody and visitation rights in GLBT families. When litigated, these issues can easily wind up taking large amounts of time over the complexity of case law, cost substantial amounts of money for legal advocacy, and cause complicated, long lasting emotional consternation.

Collaborative coaching is a significant part of the collaborative law process. A couple that desires a permanent separation works with a mental health professional who has been specially trained in the collaborative process. Usually, each partner has their own coach. The coaches work jointly and separately to help the partners define what they want to achieve through the separation. They work with the partners to develop skills so they can speak directly about their concerns and needs, and then problem solve without emotion interfering with rational decision making. In this way, the couple is far more able to achieve their goals for the separation than if they used more divisive forms of attaining a legal separation. Long term research shows that couples who work together to achieve mutual agreements are more successful in establishing new lives and, later, new relationships. They can protect themselves and their children from carrying the emotional baggage of the old relationship into their new, separate lives and their separate families.

Collaborative Law is an alternative dispute resolution process that has been in existence for over fifteen years and which is being used internationally. This is a team based process used by partners for protecting their emotional and financial assets, as well as the emotional health of their children. The process is especially beneficial because collaborative coaching minimizes hostile conflict in the relationship--the one variable found to have long lasting repercussions on a child’s emotional development. Collaborative law is a legal and a private process. All agreements are legally enforcable. And because the entire process takes place in the privacy of an office, neither partner has to be party to a public forum where personal issues are aired before strangers.

If you are considering a permanent separation, or you know others that are, collaborative law is well worth investigating for a healthier, more peaceful resolution to a permanent separation.

Submitted by:

Mel Mackler, LMFT

Mel Mackler, LMFT, is a collaborative coach (27 years experience) working with couples of all sexual orientations to improve the quality of their relationships. Mel can be reached at GayFriendlylTherapist




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