Collaborative legal services with the Center of Out of Court Divorce

During a recent visit to the University of Denver, I was so impressed to hear about a project that has come out of IAALS (the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System). It’s user-centered, collaborative, and coordinated in-person services, specifically for people going through a divorce.

It’s called the Center for Out of Court Divorce. Its goal is to guide a family through the many different processes that are involved in a divorce, but without adversarial and overly formal procedures that often come with a court-based divorce.
Center for Out of Cour Divorce -- access innovations

It is not an online service, like is being tried by companies like Wevorce, but rather an in-person service, with a physical location, where many different services are co-located.

Here’s its self-description:

The Center for Out-Of-Court Divorce provides a proven family-centered approach for couples with children who want to end their partnership or marriage through compassionate, holistic divorce resolution. This out-of-court process works in partnership with the legal system to offer financial and legal education, mediation and individual and family counseling. We empower parents by helping them avoid a court process that is often lengthy, expensive and conflicted in order to support the long-term well-being of families.

The Center is innovative in how it offers a longer-tail set of services to those in a divorce process, with more focus on preparation, coordinated services, and ongoing support with the big transition they’re going through. It’s more about quality human outcomes, and less about simply processing a case.

Here’s a chart from IAALS about the pilot version of the Center’s process.

Center for Out of Court Divorce - process

IAALS, as a research institute, has evaluated the Center’s pilot run, and based on its findings, the Center has expanded into a more permanent initiative due to its successes. IAALS has a project page that details the coverage on the Center, and a formal report about its evolution.