Collaborative divorce originated in the United States. Founder Stu Webb had been involved in family law for over 20 years, when mediation attracted his attention in the late 1980s. He wanted to find a way to use the talents of family law attorneys in a different way. Stu’s goal was to create a model in which attorneys never have to go to court for proceedings, but the divorce process takes place in a collaborative practice, under the guidance of specialised attorneys. According to Stu, parties who split up or couples who get divorced should consult with each other if going to court is not an option.
Based on his insights, Stu Webb set up the Collaborative Practice. In 1990, he told his clients that his firm would no longer be going to court for legal proceedings. He would only be taking on clients who were willing to divorce collaboratively and look for creative solutions. If this did not lead to the best outcome, he referred clients to another attorney.
Divorce, business separation and conflict resolution
Both the collaborative divorce and the collaborative practice originated in this way. The Stu method has been used in the Netherlands since 2008, where it is referred to as ‘overlegscheiden’ and ‘overlegpraktijk’. The collaborative practice is aimed at resolving disputes, both privately and professionally. Here, too, we do not see recourse to the courts for legal proceedings as an option.