Practicing Collaborative Family Law for your best interests

About Audra Holbeck

With more than 23 years in the legal field, 15 years as an attorney, Audra Holbeck focuses solely on mediation and collaborative family law services to families in the Twin Cities area.

Audra has dedicated her practice to helping families restructure in an emotionally and financially healthy way. She works with a team of competent and compassionate professionals, which include collaboratively trained attorneys, mental health professionals (coaches and child specialists), and financial neutrals. They work with you to help you come up with a settlement agreement that is created by you, for you.

Audra loves to help problem solve and welcomes the opportunity to help you and your spouse reach your best outcome. Take advantage of a free 30-minute consultation to fully understand how collaborative law solutions can work for you.


Collaborative Family Law

Collaborative Law has helped thousands of families restructure through the use of neutral experts. The focus is on the future and creating an environment that is best for the couple and family. Instead of spending time fighting, and drafting and filing inconsequential paperwork with the court, time in the collaborative process is spent problem solving.

Clients work together with their chosen lawyers, as well as the team of other professionals they have chosen, to help reach a beneficial conclusion without ever setting foot in the courtroom. This saves time, money, and stress. Litigation is not inevitable for all couples, but it is always available if needed. Why not try the more cost-effective and mature method first?



Countries are home to collaboratively trained professionals around the world. More than 22,000 lawyers have been trained in collaborative law worldwide.


Percent of cases settle in the collaborative process, and for the 90% of clients whose cases settle, 79% are somewhat or extremely satisfied with Collaborative Practice overall. 


Percent of clients report that they would definitely or probably refer a person in need to Collaborative Practice. 


Percent of clients report that they would definitely or probably refer a person in need to Collaborative Practice. 




Does it matter who files first?

No. It doesn’t matter if you are the petitioner (the party who files the papers) or the respondent.

My spouse and I have a history of domestic abuse. Do we have to mediate?

No. If domestic abuse has occurred between you and your spouse, you are not required to mediate.

How is custody determined?

If you and your spouse cannot agree on custody, a neutral third party will perform a custody evaluation.

How is a custody evaluation performed?

Generally speaking, the evaluator meets with you, your spouse, and the children. By interviewing you, your spouse, your children, and other people close to you, the evaluator issues a report based on the best interests of the children standard.

How is a custody evaluation performed?

Generally speaking, the evaluator meets with and interviews you, your spouse, your children, and other individuals close to you and your family. The evaluator makes a recommendation based on the interviews and uses the best interests of the children standard. The best interests standard is based on Minnesota statute and consists of 13 factors:
• You and your spouse's wishes;
• The children's wishes, depending on their ages;
• The children's primary caregiver;
• The intimacy of the parent-child relationship
• The children's interaction and interrelationship with each other, you and your spouse, and other significant people;
• The children's adjustment to home, school, and the community;
• The length of time the child has resided in a stable, satisfactory environment, and the desirability to maintain continuity;
• The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed parental home;
• The mental and physical health of all individuals involved;
• Your capacity and disposition and your spouse's capacity and disposition to give the children love, affection, and guidance and to continue educating the children in their culture and religion, if any;
• The children's cultural background;
• If domestic abuse has occurred, the affect it has had on the children; and
• Except where a finding of domestic abuse is made, the disposition of each parent to encourage and permit frequent and continuing contact by the other parent with the children.

What is collaborative family law?

It is process for resolving family law matters in a dignified manner and without the courts.

How does collaborative differ from other family law processes?

Control and empowerment. If the parties cannot agree on custody, finances, and property distribution, a judge decides for you.
• Privacy. Documents contained in court files are subject to public review. Because the parties agree not to litigate, they won’t need to serve and file motions and affidavits with the court, which are available to the public, and are nothing more than vehicles to disparage your spouse.
• Dignity and respect. No one’s perfect, and you’ve made some mistakes. But those mistakes are exaggerated in the litigation process. Just because your marriage is breaking down doesn’t mean your dignity and self-respect should dissolve, too. It is perfectly natural and normal to be sad, angry, depressed, and frustrated.

How is collaborative different from mediation?

The collaborative process involves four people – the parties and their lawyers, and the four individuals work together to achieve a resolution. The mediation process involves three people – the parties and the mediator, who is a neutral. The mediator’s job is to job is to facilitate a settlement, but because the process usually does not involve the parties’ lawyers, you won’t have counsel available for advice. Impasses are more likely to occur during mediation than the collaborative process. The mediator must remain neutral, and cannot offer you advice. Thus, negotiation breakdowns are more likely to occur during mediation than collaboration.

What happens if we cannot resolve the issues?

If you cannot resolve the issues and want to go to court, then both lawyers withdraw and both parties start over with new counsel.

What does it cost?

It depends on the situation and issues involved. Litigation will always take longer and be more expensive than collaboration.

How are collaborative family law attorneys different than other family law attorneys?

Collaborative attorneys are trained in collaborative techniques. They have the same legal skills and knowledge as other family law attorneys, but collaborative attorneys are required to have special training in negotiation and conflict resolution techniques. These skills assist the parties in arriving at a true win-win outcome rather than the inevitable win-lose outcome encountered in litigation.

How do I convince my spouse to get a collaborative attorney?

If possible, sit down with your spouse and tell him or her about the process. Give your spouse links to this website and www.collaborativelaw.org. If you don’t succeed, talk to someone your spouse respects, perhaps a professional, like a minister or counselor, or a trusted family member or friend, and direct that person to the various websites. Perhaps if your spouse learns about collaborative law from someone other than you or an attorney, he or she might be more receptive to the process.

At Holbeck Law we are here for you. Let's connect to move forward.