As the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS) celebrates its 10th anniversary, Wendy Paris, author of Splitopia, looks back on the progress we have made in recent years toward improving family outcomes by taking divorce out of court.

In her recent guest blog post, Ten Years of IAALS: Taking Divorce Out of Court with Better Outcomes for Families, she notes the gap that fueled the need for launching a place like The Center for Out-Of-Court Divorce (COCD).

According to Wendy, there were so many experts in the field with great ideas on how to better support families moving through separation or divorce, but they were not effectively communicating with each other or with the families. There needed to be a hub to connect all the dots and ensure that families would have a comprehensive plan in place and be given the tools, resources, support and guidance necessary to improve the process of divorcing.

Taking Divorce Out Of Court

COCD was the missing link she had been looking for to change the way of thinking around supporting families through separation or divorce. Wendy noted, “The COCD does more than merely argue for new thinking. It actually intercepts couples on their way to the destructive adversarial legal process, and directs them toward the specific tools they need to build better lives and protect their children.” From parenting guidance and psychological counseling to financial education and kids’ workshops, COCD creates a web of support around families, easing both the financial and emotional burdens that often come with divorce.

Although COCD opened its doors as a standalone nonprofit in September 2015, it was originally started in September 2013 as the Resource Center for Separating and Divorcing Families as part of the Honoring Families Initiative of IAALS. Since then, 294 individuals have submitted intake forms and 50 families have successfully navigated a separation or divorce with the guidance of COCD. Dozens more are reaching out each month to get started, which is no surprise given the roughly 2 million divorces occurring across the country each year. Given both the demand for and the success of this model, COCD has its eye on expanding nationwide in the near future.

Separation & Divorce Services at COCD

Families of all types and sizes are welcome at COCD, including never-married couples and same-sex couples, who are seeking support before, during or after a separation or divorce. To learn more or get started, please contact us.