Practice areas

Collaborative Practice


Leading the way to out-of-court legal solutions

For many couples, divorce proceedings are traumatic and greatly exacerbate the heartache of their loss. Because the justice system is built to be adversarial, it encourages conflict and may incite anger. For people who want their divorce proceedings to actually begin the healing process, collaborative divorce can be a healthy option. Arlene Kostant helps clients achieve lasting and amicable settlements through the collaborative process. She offers legal support that saves time, stress and expense.

A cooperative process for divorce

Collaborative divorce allows couples to work through a non-confrontational, non-adversarial mini-team process to reach the best result for themselves and their children. Each spouse has his or her own attorney, committed to assisting the client in reaching an agreement that works for both parties, as well as for their children, if any. The mini-team typically includes other professionals: a mental health professional (coach) to assist with communication skills and parenting, and a financial professional to gather information and model different financial scenarios. All work together to reach the best arrangement for the future. They address all the same concerns as those discussed during a traditional divorce, including:

  • Parenting

  • Child support

  • Asset distribution

  • Marital debt division

  • Sale or possession of the marital home

  • Spousal support and temporary support

However, rather than resolving conflicts in open court, the couple and their attorneys and team privately work in a manner that reduces stress and anxiety and moves to resolution.

The potential benefits

The advantages of collaborative divorce are many:

  • Additional privacy: Since the agreement is worked out in private rather than in court, personal information is held in confidence and there is much less of a public record

  • Time savings: The collaborative process goes much more quickly than one that involves scheduled court appearances and formal discovery

  • Less emotional turmoil: The act of dealing with your former spouse in a cooperative manner means that you do not face as much

  • Creative and comprehensive solutions: The process is thoughtful and thorough and maximizes the potential of arriving at wise and enduring decisions

Not for everyone

For collaborative divorce to succeed, an atmosphere of some trust must be created. This process works best when it’s truly important to each party that the other spouse be ultimately okay. This is much more challenging in marriages where there has been domestic violence or emotional abuse.

If the collaborative process doesn’t work for you, you can transition to a different process, such as a mediation, negotiation or litigation. Your attorneys can assist in the transition, but will not participate in any litigation or adversarial process; none of the private matters discussed in the collaborative meetings can be used against you.

Collaborative practice for other agreements

Collaborative Practice is tailor-made for drafting other agreements, such as Premarital, Postmarital, Parenting Plans and Cohabitation Agreements. As a collaborative attorney, I am trained in facilitative, open discussions. Collaborative Practice encourages both parties to develop their goals for the relationship and one another, and to take one another’s concerns and goals into account. Collaborative Practice is also well suited in that the parties create their own terms of an agreement together, more as a planning process than an adversarial one.

To learn more

If you are interested in more information how collaborative practice can assist you, please refer to

Resolving your family law matters collaboratively

If you believe the collaborative divorce process could help you to divorce, separate or coparent or to create any type of agreement with your fiancé(e), spouse, partner or someone with whom you are living or coparenting, please call me at 415-433-2863 or contact me online to schedule an appointment.