University of Denver

The Center for Out-of-Court Divorce: A Proven, Community-Centered Alternative for Families

Executive Director, The Center for Out of Court Divorce

So often when parents begin the process of separation and divorce they feel vulnerable and uncertain about how to proceed. Their greatest fear is the potential of harm to their children. The Center for Out of Court Divorce – Denver (COCD or Center) offers parents a proven way forward that is designed to reduce conflict, save time and money, and support the long term well-being of the family. It is a comprehensive resource for couples with children who want to end their partnership or marriage through compassionate and holistic divorce resolution.

The newly established Center for Out of Court Divorce – Denver opened its doors in September of this year. While the doors may be new, the purpose and mission are not. With an established family-centered approach developed by the Honoring Families Initiative at IAALS and piloted by the University of Denver’s Resource Center for Separating and Divorcing Families (RCSDF), the new Center will have even greater capacity to serve families in the Denver-metro area.

Now incorporated as an independent non-profit organization, COCD is governed by a Board of Directors with deep roots in the community and a shared commitment to the well-being of children. Their goal is to grow and develop the Center as an accessible and sustainable resource for local families and to serve as a prototype for other communities who want to replicate our out-of-court model.

Initial seed capital for COCD has been provided by a generous family foundation with a track record of making strategic investments in big ideas that work. And, our service model remains true to the approach developed and piloted at RCSDF, which includes counseling, co-parent coaching, financial education, budget planning, legal education, mediation, and legal document drafting. Couples can also choose to have their final court hearing at COCD. Packages of services are tailored to meet the unique needs of each family, and are offered on a “fee for service” basis. In balance with the goal of sustainability, reduced fee arrangements are available for families with a demonstrated financial need.

Our staff is composed of an exceptional group of licensed mental health professionals and attorney mediators working together as an interdisciplinary team. COCD also serves as a training site for graduate students in social work, psychology, and law. IAALS will continue its evaluation of the COCD model, which began at RCSDF, to inform ongoing innovation and systems change efforts on the outcomes of our program.

It is my privilege to serve as the new Executive Director of the Center. I was drawn by the opportunity to build a comprehensive resource for families as they undertake the difficult process of separating, divorcing, and establishing new lives. I was also drawn by the opportunity to work with smart, committed, and courageous people who have come together to develop, test, and advocate for this new approach. I look forward to sharing our experience and our learning. Our doors are open and I hope that those interested in this work will visit the Center. Welcome!