Lawyer Stuart Webb created collaborative divorce right here in Minneapolis in 1990 due to his frustration at the red tape surrounding the end of marriages. He refused to keep going to court on the behalf of divorcing clients, instead helping them work out their differences outside of court. He decided to turn his more difficult and (to him) unrewarding cases over to another attorney who preferred a more traditional and litigious approach.

Other attorneys in the city took notice of Webb’s revolutionary process, and some of them liked the approach so much that they decided to copy his methods. Per Webb’s process, all four individuals involved – both spouses and the two opposing lawyers – signed a contract, agreeing to pursue an amicable resolution and requiring both attorneys to withdraw if the case landed in court. In other words, the process incentivized the attorneys to make the negotiations really work. Thanks to the early success of this collaborative method, news soon spread from Minnesota to other states, as other family law lawyers looked for better ways to negotiate divorces.

When the court system in Medicine Hat, Alberta, took advantage of the collaborative idea, the community’s rate of divorce dropped by a stunning 85 percent, because so many couples decided not to split up thanks to the collective efforts of the collaborative team. The practice gained even more publicity after high profile newspapers and magazines, including Maclean’s, The Toronto Star, The Lawyer’s Weekly, started writing about it.

Advantages of Collaborative Law

In addition to being much less contentious, collaborative generally costs less than traditional divorce. The practice is also continuing to gain acceptance and momentum across the nation and in Canada. Experts who study marriage and divorce data believe this trend will only continue.

Clients should not confuse collaborative divorce with divorce mediation.

Collaborative divorce does not involve a mediator, who acts as a neutral party. None of the parties in collaborative divorce is neutral, although they all work together to negotiate a settlement. Each attorney looks out for the client’s best interests and gives his or her client appropriate legal counsel.

Who Does Collaborative Divorce Help?

What couples benefit most from collaborative divorce? While each situation differs, this method is particularly useful in the following cases:

•    You and your spouse have traditionally struggled to communicate;
•    You have serious concerns about property division;
•    One person in the marriage has controlled the finances;
•    You have children or other dependents;
•    You have concerns about visitation and custody.

Photo of Jason Brown Jason Brown

Jason Brown founded the Brown Law Offices, P.A. in 2003 after working for several years as an associate attorney in downtown Minneapolis. He graduated with honors from Mankato State University in 1997 and the William Mitchell College of Law in 2000.

Jason has…

Jason Brown founded the Brown Law Offices, P.A. in 2003 after working for several years as an associate attorney in downtown Minneapolis. He graduated with honors from Mankato State University in 1997 and the William Mitchell College of Law in 2000.

Jason has successfully litigated against some of the more recognized family law attorneys in the Twin Cities. He has been named a “Super Lawyer” by Thomson Reuters, and one of the Top 100 Family Law Attorneys in Minnesota by the Society of Legal Advocates.

In addition to his work as a lawyer, Jason serves as a mediator, and court-appointed early neutral evaluator, in divorce and family law cases throughout Minnesota. He frequently writes and speaks concerning divorce and family law issues, including several invitations to present seminars for the Minnesota Judicial Branch in St. Paul.

Beyond family law, Jason has represented hundreds of clients accused of a serious crime, including arson, fraud, unauthorized computer access, burglary, felony strangulation and obstruction of justice. He also provides estate planning services.

Local media appearances by Jason include WCCO Radio, KARE 11 Television, Fox 9 Television and WCCO Television. His national media appearances include NBC News, Time Magazine, USA Today and the Huffington Post.

Jason is the former chairperson of the Family Law Section of the Minnesota Trial Lawyer’s Association, and taught divorce and family law coursework within the paralegal program at North Hennepin Community College. He publishes the Minnesota Family Law Blog, which has been recognized as a “Top 25″ by the Minnesota State Bar Association.

Outside of the office, Jason enjoys playing the bass and electric guitar and spending time in the north woods of Wisconsin.

Areas of Practice
  • Divorce
  • Custody
  • Adoption
  • Restraining Orders
  • Prenuptial Agreements
  • Criminal Defense
  • Estate Planning
Notable Cases
  • Representation of Four Grandparents in Minnesota’s First Quad-Parenting Adoption
  • Representation of Client in Minnesota’s First Same-Sex Divorce
Bar Admissions
  • Minnesota State Bar, 2000
  • US District Court – District of Minnesota, 2002
  • William Mitchell College of Law, 2000
  • Minnesota State University, Mankato, 1997
Joined Firm
  • 2003
Professional Associations & Activities
  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Presenter, Various CLE Courses
  • Monthly Columnist, Minnesota Lawyer Newspaper