Along with the parties and their respective attorneys (both must be represented), most cases also have a financial neutral to gather and make sense of the financial information and a communications coach to keep discussions at the meetings productive and forward-looking. At first blush, that may sound expensive, but most parties have found it makes more sense to have the single financial neutral (at their hourly rate) compile the information than it does to have attorneys do that. Similarly, the communications coach can save a lot of time by keeping discussions productive.
The collaborative approach allows parties to make proactive, creative, customized solutions that are tailor-made for their unique family situation. The fact that each meeting has an agenda creates a safe environment for discussion and negotiation. Minutes of each meeting are also kept so parties remember homework items, agreements, and see their progress toward resolution.
For people who see the value in maintaining a positive relationship for the sake of their children, the collaborative process seems to be a natural choice. The collaborative process does not guarantee a "conflict-free" resolution, but it can give you tools that will help your family transition to a healthy new beginning.
For more information about the collaborative process, please click on the link below for the Collaborative Law Institute of Texas, of which I am a member.