With traditional divorce, wounds may never fully heal. That's why John Smiley, a supervising judge of the Superior Court of California, started sending a letter about CD to couples filing separation papers in his court. "If couples have a warfare mentality, they can never really recover -- a disaster for them and their kids," says Smiley.
Karen Andrews, a 47-year-old mom of a 7-year-old son in San Francisco, was grateful to learn about CD. "At the beginning it was so emotionally charged," she says. "I had to remind myself I was doing it for my son. And that if we went to court, it could get explosive." Karen and her husband chose to have a "collaborative team" (a financial consultant, child specialist, and their own coach-therapists) in addition to their lawyers to help them learn how to handle their differences. "I'm not going to sugarcoat it -- it's hard. But a good kind of hard," she says. "I know my son will respect the fact that we took time to work things out and be at peace with our decisions."