The hallmark of the Collaborative Divorce is that each party is represented by an attorney who has signed an Agreement that there will be no court hearings, and all disputes will be resolved privately, outside of court, and ultimately by the parties. The effect of this for the parties and the attorneys is to keep everyone at the negotiation table, regardless of the difficulty or complexity of the issues. Besides two attorneys representing each party and the family’s best interest, the parties will have the access and assistance of a divorce coach(es) to assist the parties with complexity of negotiations from a communication and emotional standpoint. This is particularly helpful to parties who must continue to co-parent a child through and beyond adulthood, and/or assisting the parties from "bogging down" in the negotiations with issues which are not legal in nature.

Depending on the complexity of the case, the parties may agree to bring joint experts into the process, such as a financial consultant or child specialist, who will work directly with the parties in making recommendations towards and out of court settlement. In working on Collaborative Agreements, Michelle Sullivan has found that the professionals can provide elegant and custom made strategies to resolve the outcomes considering each family’s unique requirements.

Collaborative parties work together to create a cost-effective environment to arrive at a Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage by using the right professionals, at the right time for the right issues. The Agreements reached through this process provide durable, long-range solutions which are as unique as the individuals and families involved. Although the collaborative process can be difficult, some parties find that they experience the long-lasting benefits of increased personal skills that can only be developed by working with a team of highly skilled professionals.