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The Collaborative Law Process

A non-adversarial process conducted outside the court system

Promotes creative problem solving

Our Attorneys are trained in the art of principled negotiation

You help control the decisions and the time frame to complete the process

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Who We Are

Central Ohio Academy of Collaborative Divorce Professionals ("COACDP") is a non-profit organization of attorneys, financial professionals, mental health professionals and others. The goals of COACDP are twofold: (1) to provide the public with information about the collaborative family law process as another alternative available to terminate a marriage; and, (2) to promote the process and provide training for professionals. All of our members have received special skills training in the collaborative process. Anyone interested in this process should ensure that their attorney and other professionals have received training.


The use of collaborative law to assist restructuring families when terminating marriages began in the 1980s and the process was quickly was adopted by attorneys throughout the United States, as well as internationally. COACDP was initially formed in 1998 in Columbus, Ohio, and was known then as Collaborative Divorce Professionals. Initially it consisted of only attorney members. The group was renamed in 2010 to COACDP to reflect the diversity in professionals that had become members, which now includes attorneys, financial professionals, mental health professionals and real estate professionals. As seen in the members' profiles, all have had basic collaborative law training and most have had advanced training. Additionally, many members have also had mediation training. COACDP also has protocols that are followed by its members, that provide a framework for how the members conduct themselves during It is this training and the protocols that sets our member professionals apart from other professionals in Central Ohio that may claim to practice the collaborative family law process.

In addition to collaborative law, there are several alternatives available to terminate a marriage: direct or indirect negotiation without a collaborative participation agreement; mediation; early neutral evaluation; arbitration; and litigation. In 2012, the Ohio legislature enacted the Collaborative Family Law Process Act which became effective March 20, 2013.

Ohio Law

The Collaborative Family Law Process Act (Ohio Revised Code Sections 3105.41 to 3105.54) states the requirements for and protections afforded by participation in a collaborative family law process. Those requirements include the signing a collaborative participation agreement and representation of by collaborative family lawyers. The law also provides that, upon the request of either party, there must be timely, full, candid, and informal disclosure of information related to the collaborative matter without formal discovery (as occurs in litigation) and the information shall be updated promptly information that has materially changed.

Communications that occur with lawyers in the collaborative family law process are confidential. And communications that occur after the parties sign a collaborative family law participation agreement and before the collaborative family law process is concluded, made for the purpose of conducting, participating in, continuing, or reconvening a collaborative law process, are privileged communications. The privileged communications include those made by the parties and non-parties designated to participate in the collaborative family law process (such as financial professionals and family coaches).

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Elaine Buck

Elaine Buck View Profile

Tom H. Nagel

Tom H. Nagel View Profile

Bobbie Corley O'Keefe

Bobbie Corley O'Keefe View Profile

S. Scott Haynes

S. Scott Haynes View Profile

Carol Ann Fey

Carol Ann Fey View Profile

Robert N. Wistner

Robert N. Wistner View Profile

Sandra W. Davis

Sandra W. Davis View Profile

Heather G. Sowald

Heather G. Sowald View Profile

Robert Koblentz

Robert Koblentz View Profile

Linda J. Miller

Linda J. Miller View Profile

Nancy L. Sponseller

Nancy L. Sponseller View Profile

Jeffrey D. Fish

Jeffrey D. Fish View Profile

Margaret (Peggy) L. Blackmore

Margaret (Peggy) L. Blackmore View Profile
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