What is a Collaborative Team and how many different professionals will be involved in my Collaborative Divorce?
A Collaborative Team is a group of collaboratively trained professionals (family law attorneys, child specialists, mental health professionals/coaches, and financial specialists) with whom you and your spouse choose to work to resolve the issues in your Collaborative divorce proceeding. All Collaborative professionals have received training in the collaborative process and have experience in helping divorcing couples select the best Collaborative team model. The decision to add a particular Collaborative professional to the Collaborative team is normally made early in the process, and is based on the parties’ unique challenges and issues.
The Collaborative Divorce process is versatile and flexible, offering those who decide to divorce collaboratively a variety of ways to resolve their family law issues. The mental health, child development and financial experts are available to assist the parties’ collaborative attorneys based on the particular needs of the family. The level of cooperation between the clients, the financial resources available to “invest” in a healthy divorce, whether the parties anticipate child custody, child support and other child-related issues, and the complexity (emotional and financial) of the situation all help determine which Collaborative professionals are needed in a particular divorce proceeding.
The Collaborative Divorce process allows each professional to apply his or her specific education, training and experience to the parties’ issues. If the dissolution issues are strictly legal, the team may simply consist of the clients and their respective collaboratively trained family law lawyers. However, divorce, separation, child custody, support, and the division of property often create challenging emotional, financial and child-related issues for the parties, which are best resolved utilizing the interdisciplinary Collaborative Team approach.
Therefore, in addition to you and your spouse’s Collaborative divorce lawyers, you may need the support of other Collaborative professionals to help keep your discussions productive:
One or two coaches (collaboratively trained marriage and family therapists or Psychologists) can help you and your spouse improve communication and manage conflict
A neutral financial specialist (a collaboratively trained accountant or certified financial planner) can help you compile and decipher financial information. The financial neutral also can create future projections for realistic settlement options.
A neutral child specialist (collaboratively trained marriage and family therapists or psychologists) can help protect the well-being of the children, provide insight into the children’s issues, and help craft parenting plans. Additionally, the child specialist can educate and support the parents with respect to parenting issues following divorce or separation.