Collaborative divorce attorneys are trained in both mediation and collaborative skills. In a collaborative divorce, a team of professionals will work with you to gather information and negotiate your settlement. The parties and attorneys must be invested in the process. If a settlement cannot be reached through the collaborative method both attorneys and the other collaborative professionals must withdraw from the case, and each spouse must retain a new attorney to take them through the process of resolving their divorce in litigation. Parties working collaboratively must be committed to finding resolutions that address the well-being of all involved. Collaborative attorneys act as their client’s advocate but are also looking for solutions that work for both parties. When agreement is reached, collaborative attorneys will prepare the legal documents needed to put the settlement in place and will submit the settlement to the court.
A Supportive Team
Part of the collaborative divorce model includes assembling a team of professionals to support you as you work through your divorce and plan for the future. You and your spouse will also work with one or two divorce coaches who are mental health professionals, a neutral financial consultant, and if needed, a child specialist. With the support of a team of experienced professionals dedicated to helping you resolve your divorce, the collaborative process can be effective even in the most complex of emotional or financial situations.
The Collaborative Coach
The emotions involved in a divorce can be obstacles to moving forward in the decision making process. Coaches (trained mental health professionals) assist parties in managing the emotional aspects of the divorce (which can be roadblocks to settlement) and in developing effective communication skills. When children are involved, coaches assist in developing a workable parenting plan tailored to the needs of the family.
The Child Specialist
Understanding the perspective and needs of the children can be helpful to parties in formulating an effective parenting plan. A Child Specialist (trained mental health professional) can bring the child’s perspective and needs into the negotiation room. The Child Specialist provides the children the opportunity to share their feelings and concerns in a safe and supportive environment. With expertise in children’s developmental and emotional issues, the Child Specialist assists parents in resolving the issues surrounding their children in a manner that is tailored to their unique situation.
Neutral Financial Specialist
Divorce can involve complex financial issues. The neutral financial specialist helps couples to understand and consider their current finances and helps them evaluate in detail various financial options for settlement. Business valuations, after tax value of assets and before and after tax cash flow analysis are some of the services that can be provided by the financial neutral in assisting couples to evaluate their options and reach agreements.