Anne Ziff
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Collaborative Divorce

The reduction of acrimony during a divorce process clearly benefits the divorcing adults. While that result is highly desirable, it is not the primary goal of collaborative divorce.

Professonials who work with families of divorce have learned that parental conflict is the single most  difficult divorce-related experience for children to witness and work through. In all my work with families and attorneys and finance professionals, I acknowledge my bias, and urge their attention to the children, and their well-being, both in the short and the long-term, as they help the spouses develop a divorce settlement.

In the past seven years, since Collaborative Divorce has become an option, I have been able to recommend it to roughly 85 percent of my clients for whom divorce is necessary.  And let me say right up front that, as good as it is, a collaborative divorce is not suitable for everyone.  Primarily, it does not serve the needs of highly litigious spouses, or families in which anger is so intense and trust so destroyed that compromising and thoughtfulness are no longer possible.  But if you think that a Collaborative Divorce might suit your needs, please either contact me directly, or find a Collaborative Divorce practitioner through the various Collaborative Divorce websites. 

My interest in working with children of divorce originated with my studies with Chaim Ginott in the ‘70s, with Judith Wallerstein in the’80s, and through my own practice, research, and activities through the ‘90s and to date.

For example, I initiated a 10-week workshop for men and women together called "New Life Transition" groups. In these groups all of the emotional aspects of divorce can be explored, from parenting to dating, career, etc. Solutions to seemingly insoluble problems often appear. 

I served Connecticut as the first Marriage and Family Therapist to accept the challenge made by Judge Joseph Steinberg. I chaired a statewide committee whose mission it was to educate attorneys and therapists about one another's practice, with the primary goal of reducing acrimony in their client bases. This was intended to significantly reduce the stresses imposed on the children of divorce.  AAMFT then asked me to represent the national organization on the National Interdisciplinary Forum for Mental Health and Family Law. I subsequently held the mental health chair of this committee, attended  American Bar Association meetings, and lectured nationally on the committee's mission:  to reduce acrimony during divorce and thereby benefit the Children of Divorce.

In 2004, I brought the Connecticut program to New York’s attention through NYAMFT (the New York Association for Marriage and Family Therapy), and helped develop that state’s  program, L2L, (take a Lawyer to Lunch). These programs, forerunners of Collaborative Divorce, focus on helping attorneys and mental health professionals to develop mutual trust and understanding, thereby enhancing their abilities to  work effectively with their mutual clients and with one another.

Anne Ziff, NY, CT, and MA licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

In Connecticut 203•226•9397    In New York 212•874•4760