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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.

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Attorney

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.

What is Collaborative Divorce?

What is Collaborative Divorce_WolfBridge Financial

Divorces aren’t easy.

No matter what the final reasoning was behind making this choice – it was no doubt a difficult one. At one point you loved this person so much that you envisioned your entire life with them. Now you have a family and need to figure out the best way to transition into your new life.

Many couples end up in lengthy, high conflict situations with attorneys on both sides battling to divide property and custody of children. Other couples may have no problem splitting and simply need help getting paperwork done – the rest they can figure out themselves.

For everyone else there is an option you may or may not be familiar with yet.

Collaborative Divorce.

Couples who may not be on the same page in terms of property division, child custody and spousal support, but are willing and able to do whatever it takes to make the process run smoothly can really benefit from this way of proceeding with their divorce.

In short, collaborative divorce is a process in which you and your spouse negotiate an acceptable agreement with a variety of professionals (or a team) helping navigate the process. This may include an attorney, financial specialist, child specialist and co-parenting advisor.

There are many benefits to handling divorce in the hands of a group of professionals with your financial and family situation in mind including:

  • No trial or litigious hearings and agreement of legal procedures to cut down expenses
  • Stability through a temporary agreement
  • Voluntary exchange of information
  • A negotiated a settlement
  • Come to an agreement on how post divorce issue will be handled.
  • Mediation Training
  • Neutral Financial Specialist who helps you and your spouse understand any issues surrounding your divorce

Main Goals of Collaborative Divorce

While it is nice to stay out of court and save a little cash, the main benefit of collaborative divorce is that it puts the children first. The child specialist works as the voice of the children throughout the proceedings while a co-parenting specialist helps create a plan for how you can most effectively take care of your child after the divorce is complete so that he/she is not negatively affected by the experience.

At the same time, the financial specialist will serve as an un-biased intermediary to help resolve property and budget issues so that there isn’t any unnecessary burden on either party and that things are split up amicably.

What does a Collaborative Divorce Cost?

It depends on the team of professionals you end up working with. One thing that is for certain is that it is a lot less expensive than a traditional divorce. You are not paying for costs associated with hearings, discovery of information or even court delays. Instead you are typically paying hourly fees for the help of the aforementioned professionals as they help try and make this experience a much more pleasant one.

Where can I find out more on Collaborative Divorce?

The links below can be very helpful for those considering a collaborative divorce in the state of North Carolina.