WHO IS ON THE COLLABORATIVE TEAM?
The divorcing couple is the foundation of the collaborative team. Each member of the divorcing couple has an attorney that is part of the collaborative team. The collaborative team may also include a coach, child specialist and financial and retirement professionals. The purpose of the collaborative team is to guide the divorcing couple through this major life transition.
Family law attorneys
Each member of the divorcing couple has an attorney to advise him or her on legal issues. Attorneys practicing collaborative family law have received specialized training to convert their advocacy skills from those used in litigation to those that better serve the cooperative effort in which the divorcing couple and the collaborative team are engaged. Attorneys trained in collaborative divorce refocus the divorcing couple on their common goals: to be able to meet their future financial needs; to have well-adjusted children who get the very best of what each parent has to offer; and to be able to move forward with their lives with dignity, in a way that causes as little disruption and trauma as possible for everyone in the family.
Coaches are involved in collaborative family law cases in several roles as neutral professionals. These professionals, who are often mental health professionals, are not engaged to provide psychotherapy, but may serve a variety of roles, depending on the clients’ needs:
- Divorce Coach: The divorce coach is a professional, trained to facilitate communication within the process and to manage the emotional aspects of the divorce. A divorce coach may serve to assist the divorcing couple in making sound decisions during this very stressful time. Communication difficulties are often present in divorcing couples. The divorce coach will serve to educate the parties in how to communicate effectively with their divorcing spouse during the divorce process, and most importantly, after the actual divorce. The divorce coach is always looking out for the long-term interests of the various members of the divorcing family.
- Child Specialist: When children are involved the child specialist is a valuable resource in assisting the parents in understanding the needs of the children and their emotional response to the pending divorce. When a child specialist is retained, the child specialist will meet with the parents to get input into their concerns for their children. During that meeting, the child specialist will also obtain a developmental history of the child(ren) to assess for any special needs. The child specialist will then meet with the children to discuss their understanding and adjustment to the news of the pending divorce. The children may see the child specialist for a number of sessions to assist them in their adjustment to the new family situation. The Child Specialist may guide the divorcing couple toward a parenting plan that is in the best interest of the children involved.
Neutral financial professionals or pension attorneys help the divorcing couple understand and analyze financial information and the division of retirement benefits during the collaborative divorce. This may include determining the tax effect of a specific property division, tracing the true income available for support, or understanding the most effective way to divide retirement benefits. Many times the financial professional will help the divorcing couple understand numbers, predict their future needs and create a range of options. Often the divorcing couple meets with the collaborative financial professional or pension attorney outside of joint meetings to make the most efficient use of the team’s time and the divorcing couples’ resources.
To find out more about collaborative divorce contact one of the collaborative professionals listed on our “Team Members” page.Our team