shutterstock_105152477Collaborative Law, often referred to as Collaborative Family Law or Collaborative Law Divorce, came to south central Pennsylvania largely through the efforts of a group of six family law lawyers, Carol J. Lindsay, Esq., Dawn S. Sunday, Esq., Melissa Peel Greevy, Esq., Constance P. Brunt, Esq., Nora F. Blair, Esq., and Edward J. Weintraub, Esq. (deceased). It was Carol Lindsay’s enthusiasm that, after she returned from a collaborative divorce training session in Ohio in 2002, kindled the interest of the original six members in obtaining Collaborative Law training and starting an informal Collaborative Law practice group, which met regularly for several years. This group’s vision was to promote Collaborative Law divorce as a way of resolving family law issues outside the legal process – i.e., without going to court. Its aim was to educate the public about the Collaborative Divorce process, a legal process that enables couples who have decided to separate or end their marriage by divorce to work with their Collaborative Divorce lawyers and, on occasion, other family professionals in order to avoid the uncertain outcome of going to court and to achieve a settlement that best meets the specific needs of both parties and their children without the underlying threat of contested litigation. Gradually, the practicing members of the informal group attracted other members and, in 2005, the group formed a not-for-profit corporation under the name of the Independent Collaborative Attorneys of Central Pennsylvania, Inc. Later, as the organization of Collaborative divorce lawyers began to embrace the concept of Collaborative Family Law or Collaborative Law Divorce as an interdisciplinary approach to resolving a variety of family law issues, by incorporating as part of a team of Collaborative Law professionals, in addition to family law lawyers, divorce coaches, child and parenting specialists, accountants and financial planners, the organization revised its bylaws and protocols, and renamed the corporation, the Collaborative Professionals of Central Pennsylvania, Inc. (CPCP). From its inception as a group of six family law lawyers in 2002, the Collaborative Professionals of Central Pennsylvania has grown into a group of 52 Collaborative Divorce lawyers and other Collaborative Law professionals, who practice in Dauphin, Cumberland, York, Lancaster, Schuylkill and Union counties in Pennsylvania. For a listing of those professionals, click on the following link: http://www.collaborativelawpa.com/

The Collaborative Professionals of Central Pennsylvania is now a group of independent, collaborative professionals, Collaborative Divorce attorneys, mental health professionals, who serve as divorce coaches and parenting and child specialists, and financial professionals, such as CPA’s, financial planners and other specialists (e.g., bankers, realtors, etc.) and others. Its purpose is to promote Collaborative Divorce to professionals and the Collaborative Divorce process to the community at large, and to establish and enforce uniform standards for Collaborative Family Law among the members of the group. All members of the Collaborative Professionals of Central Pennsylvania are required to undertake at least 12 hours of formal training in the principles and techniques of the Collaborative Divorce process and 24 hours of training in mediation techniques and theory. In addition, all Collaborative Law professionals are required to become members of and maintain membership in the International Association of Collaborative Professionals (IACP), which is the primary global collaborative organization of the Collaborative Law movement. From its beginnings as a kitchen-table cabal in the late 1990’s, the IACP has grown to an international organization with more than 3,000 members. More than 22,000 lawyers alone have been trained in Collaborative Law Divorce worldwide. Since its inception in the late 1980’s, the Collaborative Law movement has spread rapidly to most of the United States, Europe, Canada and Australia.