As mentioned previously in our blog post, What is Collaborative Divorce?, the collaborative divorce process is one that can help make the divorce experience easier on entire families. In this post I wanted to more specifically break down the different professionals involved in the collaborative process and what each of their roles entail.
Each professional is integral in the process and will help create an experience that not only gets you through the divorce peacefully, but helps your family long after.
Experienced and specially-trained collaborative attorneys have each chosen to restrict their law practices to handling family law matters outside of the courtroom. What this means more specifically is that they have chosen to not work with traditional divorce cases. Instead, they guide their clients through the practical, emotional, and financial aspects of separation, divorce, and co-parenting in a non-adversarial manner.
Psychologists are a part of the collaborative divorce process in the role of Co-Parenting Advisors. For divorcing couples who elect the “Team Collaborative Process, co-parenting advisors participate with the attorneys as part of an interdisciplinary team. The co-parenting advisors specific focus is on the children in the divorce and the type of parenting the will receive during and after the divorce.
Each parent works with their own co-parenting advisor throughout the process with the main goals as follows:
- Help parents create and agree upon a mutually beneficial parenting plan for after the divorce
- Coach spouses on ways to communicate effectively and without hostility
- Prepare for their relationship as co-parents instead of spouses
Additional psychologists serve another very important role in the collaborative divorce process – that of a child specialist. The role of the child specialist is to make sure the voice of the child is heard during collaborative divorce meetings. A major role in the collaborative process is shielding children from the anger and stress of their parents during such a difficult time and the child specialist gives that child an adult voice.
The child or children will meet privately with the Child Specialist to engage in discussions that help the specialist learn how the child is experiencing the divorce and what the child may not want to share directly with their parents.
Financial Specialist (aka Neutral Financial Specialist)
Financial specialists offer neutral financial analysis services during the collaborative divorce process. They guide couples toward reasonable, mutually agreeable choices regarding property division, alimony, and child support payments. These financial professionals have participated in collaborative divorce training sessions to learn how to adapt their skills to support families in transition.
Note: Michael Kothakota, CEO of WolfBridge Financial is a member of the North Carolina Association of Collaborative Divorce Professionals and Separating Together. He believes in and practices collaborative divorce.