What is Collaborative Divorce?
Collaborative Divorce is a relatively new type of divorce that removes this important family transition from the courtroom. It allows separating spouses to address their own and their children’s needs without becoming adversaries, with respect and dignity, and with the support and expertise of professionals specialized in the various conversations necessary for divorce.
Collaborative Divorce (CD) was developed over 15 years ago to minimize the negative economic, social and emotional consequences the family often experiences in the traditional adversarial divorce process. It is a private, respectful, and efficient way for a couple to divorce that is focused on improving communication, creating solutions, preserving assets, and protecting children.
Somehow, in the past, divorce has been an adversarial process that took place in the courtroom. By its nature, this often created drawn-out arguments or battles over property settlements, custody, alimony, and myriad other issues. The process focused on dissolution more than resolution, and did not provide the couple with practice or skills to communicate effectively in the future. The effect of litigated divorce on children is often dramatic.
(Click here to watch an informative video on collaborative divorce.)
Collaborative Divorce is a process for those who are seeking an alternative to the traditional process that will maintain an atmosphere of respect, even in the presence of disagreements; prioritize the needs of their children and protect them from the potential bitterness and chaos of an adversarial divorce; reduce the expense, both financial and emotional, of the divorce process; ensure that both parents will be encouraged to participate in shared parenting during and after the divorce; have more certainty of their long-term financial condition post-divorce; minimize the confusion and emotional distress of the divorce process; participate in a process that is respectful of all those involved; work creatively and cooperatively to solve issues and create long lasting agreements; and retain control of the divorce process instead of delegating it to the court system.
The Collaborative Divorce Team is composed of mental health professionals who serve as divorce coach and child specialist; a family lawyer; and a financial specialist. Together, the team works with the divorcing couple to address the three primary conversations of divorce: the emotional, legal, and financial. The unique needs and circumstances of each family will determine the extent to which each of the professionals is involved.
Family Lawyers are trained in mediation and the collaborative process. They provide legal advice, and each client retains a family lawyer to advise them individually. The client consults privately with their respective lawyer and then participates in four-way meetings with the other spouse and their lawyer. The lawyers use non-adversarial conflict resolution and mediation skills to assist clients in reaching agreements. The lawyers prepare the necessary legal documents to complete the process.
Divorce Coaches are Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, Psychologists, or other certified professionals who are well-versed in family dynamics and issues pertaining to separation and divorce. Coaches provide emotional support, teach communication skills, discuss parenting concerns, assist the parents in creating a Parenting Plan, and help ensure that their needs, concerns, and feelings are understood and contained. Teams may consist of a single neutral facilitator/coach or a coach for each spouse.
Child Specialists perform as neutral parties to focus on your children’s needs during the family’s transition and in anticipation of its future. Each child specialist comes into the process with expertise in child development and in children of divorce. Working as independent advocates for children, child specialists provide each child with a safe place to share their feelings, express their needs, and have their voice heard and considered by both parents and all members of the team at a time when parents are often particularly challenged to hear.
Financial Professionals work for both parties, also as a neutral third party. The financial advisor assists with the gathering of financial information and the preparation of budgets. They also act as a resource in dealing with such financial issues as taxes and projection of investment incomes, and they have computer software for analyzing various options for the division of family assets and the determination of support payments if necessary.
Divorce Mediation is a process that fosters discussion between the divorcing couple with the help of a neutral third party, the mediator. A mediator acts as a facilitator, helping people in conflict explore options and find a settlement that works for everyone involved, but does not make decisions for you. In mediation, the emphasis is on maintaining communication between you and your spouse.
The goal is to develop a tailored divorce agreement that will be submitted to the family court at the end of the mediation process. Once you’ve reached agreement with your spouse, the legal part of the divorce is a simple process. Divorce mediators may be attorneys who have experience in divorce cases, or they may be professional mediators who are not attorneys, but who have training specifically in the area of family court matters.
Comprehensive Neuropsychological Services, P.C.
1095 South Main St.
Cheshire, CT 06410
Telephone: Local 203-271-3809, Toll-Free 877-788-7822