Collaborative Divorce Uses the Team Approach to Address Your Legal, Financial, and Emotional Issues
What makes the collaborative law approach different from traditional divorce litigation? The collaborative family law process is a progressive approach compared to traditional litigation because it can open a level of communication and transparency that is usually not present in other approaches.
What’s truly unique about collaborative law is that it recognizes emotional issues exist that cannot be addressed by the legal system. Unlike traditional divorce litigation, where the courtroom is a battleground, collaborative law is a team model designed to help both spouses, as well as the entire family, move through the process in a positive fashion.
When people start to think about the divorce process, they may begin by consulting with lawyers or other professionals, who discuss the range of options and the kind of process they want to have. Collaborative attorneys work with a series of jointly-hired, neutral experts who provide a team structure and support for their clients. The attorneys then work together with the clients to assemble a team consisting of the specific collaborative professionals most helpful to the case.
Members of a Collaborative Law Team
Attorneys are integral to the collaborative divorce process, because by definition, divorce is the legal end of a marriage. A collaborative lawyer will explain and advise you on all matters of law, help you formulate your goals and prepare you for the process. Collaborative lawyers use creative problem-solving techniques to help you develop a settlement agreement tailored to your needs for your future life.
Child specialists ensure that in any divorce, the children are made the priority, not the casualty. Acting as the spokesperson for children, a child specialist works to ensure that the children’s needs are understood by the parents and also works to aid the parents in creating a parenting plan that best meets those needs. The child specialist can also help the parents shift from simply the financial needs of the children to focusing on their developmental needs instead.
Divorce coaches are licensed mental health professionals (psychologists, social workers, mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists) or mediators (playing a different role than described earlier), who have received specialized training in communication and collaborative divorce. Working in a consultative role, a divorce coach provides the strategy, tools and information to help you move through the emotional stress of divorce, ease the pain of changing relationships and prepare you for the transition into your new life.
A financial specialist is trained to handle the unique financial challenges of divorce and family law cases. By helping you gather, understand, organize and value your financial data, you have the ability to determine your financial goals to set the course for your future. By reviewing your assets and liabilities, and your income and expenses figures, the financial specialist assists in developing viable options for your financial futures.
Mortgage Specialists – A mortgage specialist creates a comfort level for both spouses by resolving issues arising from property settlement agreements and protecting equity in real estate holdings or acquisitions. Because your ability to qualify for a loan before, during, or after a divorce may impact your loan availability and rates, a mortgage specialist can analyze your particular situation, determine the steps to take to meet your goals, and offer mortgage planning recommendations.
Using a process called facilitative or interest-based mediation, the collaborative mediator conducts meetings throughout the divorce process, bringing together both the spouses and their attorneys in the same room. This fosters a more cooperative approach that seeks to understand the dynamics of the couple’s relationship and takes into account the underlying interests of both spouses (as well as the family).