Help with Divorce
Collaborative Divorce Care to Support Your Family
What is Collaborative Divorce?
Collaborative Divorce is a revolutionary new process that brings the best of legal, emotional, and financial wisdom to the process of separation and divorce in an amicable and cost-effective fashion. This multi-disciplinary model offers a process of separation and divorce that protects the dignity, integrity and long-term best interests of all family members.
The divorcing couple will each have an attorney of their own and a divorce coach that will help them through the process. In addition, a neutral financial specialist will be gathering information on the couple's finances and will help the team craft financial solutions to bring about financial settlement for the spouses. The couple works with their respective attorneys, coaches and the financial specialist in meetings to identify and collaborate on joint solutions that help the spouses achieve closure through a collaborative settlement agreement.
Most divorcing spouses are also parents. Research has shown that for children it is not the divorce itself that is the most destructive element, but rather the distress, conflict and loss that can occur as a function of the divorce process. Collaborative Divorce safeguards children’s needs. It creates stability and effective planning throughout the divorce process to insure good working relationships between the parents post divorce.
A team made up of mental health professionals (parent coaches), collaborative family lawyers, a financial specialist and a child advocate work together with family members for a dignified, healthy and cost-effective resolution to the process. The unique needs and circumstances of each family dictate the need for each type of professional involvement.
Who makes up the team?
The Collaborative Lawyers
In the collaborative process, each of the divorcing spouses has a lawyer committed to their needs. The lawyers agree in advance to set aside adversarial strategies and preparations for trial. They are then free to work toward positive, family-friendly solutions without the burden of preparing for trial. If the collaborative process is not successful, the collaborative lawyers must withdraw from the case and refer the family to a trial lawyer.
The Parent Coaches
Each spouse can work with a parent coach to provide a safety net for conversations that must take place as a part of the divorce process as well as create and develop the new co-parenting relationship. This process helps spouses to recognize the end of their marriage and to move on to create fulfilling lives post-divorce. When children are involved, divorce coaches teach divorcing parents how to best protect themselves and their children from the risks associated with divorce in the present and to look to the future needs of their family.
The financial specialist works with the divorcing couple to organize and understand the family finances. Divorcing couples will receive assistance with handling immediate financial issues and long-range planning. All details of the family finances are reviewed, and viable financial options are presented to the couple and their attorneys for consideration. The financial specialist is a neutral party trained to work with couples on budgeting and planning for the future. A sound financial plan is an essential part of a successful collaborative divorce.
The child specialist is a neutral third party whose job is to understand the situation from the perspective of the children and to advocate for their best interests. The child specialist maintains this focus throughout the divorce process and is considered the child coach throughout the child’s life, if the need arises. The child specialist helps to make sure that concerns of the children are not overshadowed by other, important considerations. The child specialist provides an opportunities for the child(ren) to ask questions and to identify problems or worries, and provides information and suggestions to parents and team, especially in the development of the parenting plan.
Benefits of Collaborative Divorce
Creates a cooperative environment where needs and concerns of each party can be heard and met
Addresses and emphasizes the children’s needs and maximizes the outcome for positive involvement of both parents
Employs problem-solving techniques taught by coaches that fosters efficient resolution of issues
Allows couples to retain control of the separation process and a measure of privacy
Provides the flexibility to craft an agreement together, build confidence and come to consensus around the agreement
Contains all costs and is a far more cost-effective manner of resolving a divorce compared to divorce litigation
Potential to reach closure through agreement in a much shorter time period than a traditional divorce process
Offers the only model that provides a structure for emotional, financial and legal guidance and support
Requires timely disclosure of relevant financial information that makes the collaborative process efficient
Helps preserve respectful relationships between divorcing parties following separation and divorce
Helps the newly configured family begin new lives in a more hopeful and healthy way
Addresses current financial issues and assists with long-range planning for the future