Tag Archives: children

Who is Involved in the Collaborative Divorce Process?

Collaborative Divorce Process

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.

Co-Parenting Advisor

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

Child Specialist

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.

Financial Games for this Week

On the US Mint website, there are several games for children to play. One is called “Break the Bank” where you answer trivia questions and break the piggy bank.

A very simple counting game for young children is at funbrain.com. It allows the user to make change back.

On PBS kids’ website, there’s a game called “Mad Money,” which is both simple and fun.

Although this may not be the perfect game for “financial education,” it is fun and easy to play. You have to collect fruit for money.

Hope you enjoy your games this week!

Inexpensive Ways to Have Fun for the Movie Lover

Drive-in Movies
I’m a huge fan of drive-in movies. Not only are they historical (in my opinion) they are a lot of fun. Often times, the drive-in will show a double feature (two movies), for one price. The prices are inexpensive. Children may even get in free! Click here to search for drive-in movie theatres in your area.

Some drive-ins even give discounts to people who drive classic cars. In addition, for those of you that are old movie fans like me, some drive-ins have nights where they play the classics. Unfortunately, none that I know of in North Carolina.

It’s a great place for a date and for a night with the family. They’ve usually got inexpensive food, an outdoor area to play, and a great atmosphere. I’d recommend bringing the bug spray though, especially if you live in an area with a lot of mosquitoes.

Theatre in the Park
Another idea to explore is a theatre in the park concept. Many museums and outdoor amphitheaters offer this option in the summer. Here in Raleigh/Cary, the NC Museum of Art and Cary’s Koka Booth Amphitheater offer some movies. Last summer I had the opportunity to watch some suspenseful thrillers. What a great way to spend your night!

Make Your Own Drive-In Movie Theater
I’ll break this into two categories. The first, using your backyard or your house for making a movie theatre. Popular Mechanics wrote an article on it as well as several other websites. You have the flexibility of making it however you’d like.

The second category, websites like mobmov.org (mobile movie), offer a way for people to get together and do a mobile drive-in movie theatre. You can sign up for mobmovian in your area, or you can follow the tutorial to make your own. The directions on the website are very detailed and require that the projective is located inside and powered by a car. There is even an option for filmmakers to release their films through MobMov.

Guerilla Drive-In offers something very similar. Santa Cruz has their own, but the website offers a do-it-yourself feature.

Of course, it’s important to follow state and federal laws. You may need a permit or other types of permission.

Movie Exchange
An idea that I had with my friends was to exchange DVDs. We had a little “party”, exchanged DVDs that we both wanted to watch, then return them back when we’re finished. In addition to watching a lot of movies, it gives us something to talk about and give feedback on.

Movie-Themed Parties
I always love it when my friends and I create a movie marathon. My movie marathons probably aren’t as exciting as most, but my friends and I stay up all night and watch movies. For example, we had an Audrey Hepburn marathon, where we had popcorn and sweets, dressed up like Audrey and each brought our favorite Audrey movie to the party. It was a simple, in-expensive way to have fun.

I feel like I am falling into the trend here, but I love Redbox. I’ve signed up to receive free one-night rentals. If you sign up for redbox, they send you credits in your email. The rentals are $1.00 plus tax for each day and they’re perfect for a date night, if you return within a day. I’ve gotten to see new releases the day they come out onto DVD.

One problem I’ve had is that I wanted a widescreen version of a movie, but did not have the option to choose and received a fullscreen. Even after adjusting my settings on the DVD player and such, I was still disappointed that it wasn’t widescreen.

I am a movie lover, so I’ve signed up for netflix. Typically I use this to get copies of older movies and not new releases. I also hooked up my Nintendo Wii to my netflix account to enjoy movies whenever. My movie recommendations and instant que come up and I just press play. It’s really nice, but not worth the monthly payment if you don’t want movies often. For the movies I cannot get on instant play, I receive them through the mail. There are several other devices available to instantly stream netflix, and they are listed on netflix’s website.

I don’t watch television much, but I do babysit. The benefit of streaming through the wii (or any device through netflix) is the availability of TV shows and children’s movies. I’ve seen nearly every Thomas the Train episode/movie available on Netflix.

Online Streaming
Websites such as hulu.com offer online streaming of some movies along with TV shows.

Used DVDs
Buy used. Simple enough :) There are a lot of great vendors that allow you to buy DVDs for cheap. BlockBuster and other stores often sell used DVDs for cheap… and have a bargain bin. Bargain bins are AWESOME! I saw My Cousin Vinny in one a few weeks ago… what a steal ;)

Discount Movie Theatres

I’ve been to several locations that offer a “discounted” movie price. You can search on websites like moviefone for theatres near you, and in the top right of every theater listed, there should be a price listed. However, as far as I know, there is no easy way to search by price.

Independent Movie Theatres
There are some movie theatres that play independent or cult classic films and are relatively inexpensive. They’re usually around college campuses but are a lot of fun. Typically they’re cash-only (probably how they can keep the ticket prices low) and offer some great incentives.

Movie Festivals
I would recommend doing a search on this one, but there are always movie festivals going on in my area. They have independent movie festivals, horror fest movie festivals, and other types.

Movie Theatres: Free and cheap family movies
I was doing a search for free and cheap movies in my area, and this website came up. So I wondered, what about other states?

As I searched “free movies in (insert state)”, several states came up with links for options to free film festivals or free outdoor movies. It may take a little bit of searching or an effort, but there are a lot of great resources for free movies in your state, especially now, during the summertime.

Working At the Movie Theatre
I also know several people that love movies so much, they’ve picked up a part-time job working at one. They get a certain amount of free or discounted passes a month to watch movies.

How do you avoid paying high ticket prices at movie theatres? Any ideas on how to save money?

Budgeting for Birthdays

It’s just as important to budget for birthdays, as it is to budget for other holidays. When creating a budget, incorporating holidays and birthdays is just as important as incorporating anything else. Holidays & birthdays should not get in the way of saving for retirement or an education.

Especially if you have children, birthday parties may come up month to month as a surprise, and you find yourself spending money. In your month-to-month budget, it’s important to budget birthdays, even if you don’t “plan” on spending money for that month.

I can offer several suggestions, and if any readers have anymore, please post!

Idea #1: Decide on a monthly amount to save. Make a list of all family members and close friends and write their birthday. Put a desired amount that you would spend on each present, for example: for your parents $50, cousins, $25, etc.  With this list, calculate how much you’ll need per month. It’s important to add an extra $50 or so in there, if any unexpected birthday or dinner comes up.

Idea #2: Budget between $100 – $200 per month for birthdays and whatever you do not spend for that month, goes directly into savings.

Idea #3: Budget a specific amount of money per gift for everyone, and calculate how much that will be for each month.

Idea #4: Add up all the money estimates you think you’d spend on gifts, divide by 12 (months in a year) and that is how much money to save each month. You can keep the additional money in a separate bank account.

As an important reminder, it is always important to save for emergencies; however, purchasing a gift for someone should not be considered an emergency. An emergency could be that you need a new battery in your car or a trip to the emergency room.

Also, try not to spend more than you can afford. I know it’s hard, your mother or sister may want that new mixer for their kitchen that costs $300, but it may not be your job to get it. Consider getting a gift card to go for the larger purchases and write that in the card. I know, I hear giftcards are impersonal… but if you write a little note such as “i hope this helps get that mixer you’ve always wanted!” makes it personal.

As I said in my holiday budgeting post, it’s more important that you give a thoughtful gift, not how much money you spend on a gift.

Kids Birthdays

When I thought about writing this post, my past birthdays came to mind. I remember being in kindergarten and having a huge birthday party. I remember getting around 50 or more gifts (imagine what my parents spent, yikes!)  I’m not much of a hoarder by any means, but I do still have some of those gifts. I received picture frames, a monogrammed locker, and a hand drawn picture with my name on it that a mother did for me. I kept those gifts and still have them in my room. The gifts that gotten thrown away were the trendy toys that fell apart or that I grew out of using.

My point being is this: Yes that picture with my name on it didn’t seem very fun at the time, but here, almost 20 years later, it’s still hanging on my wall. It took some time, and a little bit of  money, but someone made it for me.

Do you have any suggestions on how to budget for birthdays? What works best for you?