Collaborative Divorce: The Gold Standard for Transitioning Families

Recent statistics show that the decision to marry is losing popularity. It has also been statistically demonstrated that one out of two first marriages and three out of four second marriages end in divorce. Generations ago, divorce was perceived with a lot of stigma and while that perspective has somewhat improved, divorce is still frequently regarded as the launch into the fight of one’s life. Maybe this is one reason why people are opting out of marriage altogether. Maybe marriage wouldn’t be losing sociological ground if the divorcing population began to choose a divorce that is moral and honorable in its approach.

Every citizen who is considering divorce has a sociological responsibility to opt for a Collaborative Divorce. This Gold Standard of divorce represents a moral and ethical decision that preserves the integrity of transitioning families in our society.

In a Collaborative Divorce, the uncoupling spouses first agree to stay out of court and to work with an integrated team of well-trained professionals to resolve the legal, financial, and emotional dimensions of restructuring their family. This team consists of two lawyers; two communication coaches; a child specialist, and a financial specialist who is neutral to both spouses. To divorce collaboratively infers that the couple wants to put needs of their children in the forefront.

The divorcing couple consciously and deliberately decides to treat their transitioning family with respect, care, loving kindness…and nothing less. This needs to become a core value for every divorcing family because the family is the very foundation for our society at large.

Collaborative Divorce assists the divorcing couple by cocooning them within the safety net of their professional team. The model recognizes that divorce is considered number two in life’s top ten stressors; only outranked by death of a spouse. The team helps each client to overcome divorce-stress, create safety zones in the transition, think rationally, and communicate clearly.  They work together with their child specialist and coaches to listen to the voice of their kids and hold their children’s concerns at the forefront. The divorcing couple, with the help of their financial specialist, becomes empowered to respectfully gather and share necessary information. In their Full Team meetings, the couple will have the benefit of all their professional resources to brainstorm all the possible options in addressing their assets and debts; and, kindly make agreements each can live with as they move forward into a two-household family system.

This model has been successful for more than a decade and with the new Streamlined Protocols, the “Gold Standard” of divorce has now become affordable for more modest-income households. We need to become more passionate about the notion that our society benefits holistically from the alternative of Collaborative Divorce, where families learn positive skills that serve them for a lifetime.

If you or someone you know is considering a divorce, please learn more about the new Streamlined Protocols for Collaborative Divorce and help reinforce a high-minded path for the good of the family and for the good of our society. It is our moral responsibility to do so. If you are a divorce professional (legal, mental health, or financial), please take the next Streamlined Protocols Training in Collaborative Divorce. Check out our website Collaborative Divorce Institute ( for more information on upcoming trainings.


ELLIE IZZO, PhD, LPC, is a Licensed Professional Counselor and has been in clinical practice since 1982. Dr. Izzo developed the Rapid Advance Process, a standardized five step model for building neural pathways to higher thinking which is now widely used to alleviate trauma and stress. Ellie also serves as a Trainer, Divorce Coach, Child Specialist and/or Team Manager in the process of Collaborative Divorce, whereby a team of professionals help a couple move through divorce respectfully, without litigating. She is co-director of the Collaborative Divorce Institute and the Vicarious Trauma Institute.




Apr05 Sandra Morris This is a wonderful description and summation of the process, and the importance of the motivation to participate in it. Bravo!