Collaborative Family Practice, New Generation Divorce?

We fall in love, fall into marriage and then fall out of love and fall out of marriage. Ending the marriage is always a painful decision often taken after many attempts to make the things work.

The traditional model of filing for a divorce involves one spouse bringing a lawsuit against the other. It is often lengthy, costly and a painful procedure. If children are involved, most of the time, high conflict parents will find it difficult to communicate about the children’s well-being.

This kind of divorce leaves scars that can last a lifetime.

Collaborative Family Practice (CFP) is a process of collaborative divorce in which spouses, their lawyers and other experts sign an agreement to focus on negotiation and settlement rather than litigation. Each spouse hires a specially trained collaborative attorney who advises and assists them in negotiating a settlement agreement. CFP also involves other trained professionals such as mental health and financial experts.

All participants to CFP are members of a problem solving team who agree to disclose all information and negotiate in a constructive manner.

The role of the CFP Mental Health Professional is to help clients’ relationship to transition from spouses to former spouses, empower them to clearly articulate their experience, and help them see destructive communication patterns. Also they help defuse tension between parents dealing with children’s’ issues and create an appropriate parenting plan instead, and if needed, they talk to the children and share their concern.

The CFP Financial Specialist provides info to help improve spouses’ financial management or planning skills and generates workable options for the family in transition.

CFP process cuts down on the conflict and expense of divorce, negotiates a settlement that works for both spouses, and encourages the parties to develop a relationship of trust for their future parenting by directly involving them in negotiations based on interest and not positions.

However if spouses fail to reach an agreement, the litigation process will start in which the lawyers will be disqualified from representing the parties.

In Singapore, members of SMC- Singapore Mediation Centre’s panel of CFP Lawyers are practising family lawyers. For more information, please contact SMC.

For more information about the role of SMC – CFP therapists, feel free to contact Sanaa Lundgren at

Written by:                                                                                                                Sanaa Lundgren
Collaborative Family Practitioner (SMC)                                                  SACAC Counselling

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