Not at all. Anger is a natural response when our primary relationships change, even if we are unhappy in the relationship. In a Collaborative divorce, you will receive support and guidance from team professionals such as divorce coaches who can help you and your spouse process all the strong feelings including grief and anger that are a natural result of divorce.
In a conventional litigated “no fault” divorce, people are left with no way to deal with anger or grief. Unresolved feelings end up fueling fights over other issues such as child custody, support or property division. In Collaborative practice, we help you learn to express emotions in a direct, respectful way.
In the first meeting, you will each sign a participation agreement. It addresses the issue of confidentiality, stating the communications taking place in the course of the Collaborative process will not be admissible in court.
Collaborative Divorce offers the services of legal, mental health, and financial professionals working together as a team to help clients through the divorce process.
Legal Counsel: Though Collaborative Practice seeks to avoid going to court, the settlement is still a legal agreement. Therefore, it is essential that a lawyer be involved to advise you on all matters of law including child custody, child support, and division of property. Collaborative lawyers have committed to the Collaborative model through training in the unique aspects of the Collaborative model, working with divorce coaches and financial neutrals.
Divorce Coach (Mental Health Professional): Divorce is a major life transition. While it marks the end of one part of your life, it is also the beginning of another. A mental health professional helps you manage the pain and strain of changing relationships, while focusing on foals for the present and the future. Working with you to make the most of your strengths, your mental health professional assists you in being at your best during the divorce process, then taking positive steps to a new life.
Financial Professional: The divorce settlement will in part determine your financial well-being for many years to come. It is critical it be soundly structured, especially if your spouse assumed more responsibility for your family’s finances. The guidance of a financial professional, referred to as a “financial neutral,” will help protect your interests. Reviewing all assets and incomes, the financial neutral will assist you in developing viable financial options for your future. Evaluating the choices, you and your lawyer can then construct a comprehensive plan for the next stage of your life.
Child Specialist: Children may suffer most from divorce. They may not be able to understand or express their feelings. Their world is being turned upside down in ways they cannot comprehend. Communication with parents may be difficult if not impossible. An important goal of Collaborative Practice is to assure children are a priority, not a casualty. The Child Specialist is a mental health professional skilled in understanding children. He or she will meet with your children privately, helping them express their feelings about the divorce. Encouraging children to think creatively and with optimism about the future, the Child Specialist communicates their feelings, concerns and hopes to the Collaborative team for consideration when planning for the family’s future.
Attorney: Collaborative Practice attorneys are family law attorneys licensed the State Bar of California, who have completed specific training in Collaborative Practice which meets the Standards and Ethical Practices established by the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP).
Financial Neutral: Certified Financial Planners (CFP), Certified Divorce Financial Planners (CDFA) or Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) who specialize in the financial and tax aspects of divorce, who have also completed specific training in Collaborative Practice.
Divorce Coaches and Child Specialists: Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (MFT), Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW), psychologists, or psychiatrists including child psychologists/psychiatrists who function as Divorce Coaches to help deal with stress and emotional issues that may arise for family members including children and to team communication skills to avoid impasses. Psychological stability from both sides is essential to making the right decisions and reaching a peaceful settlement as soon as possible. Cases with difficult child custody issues may also employ a Child Specialist to assess and communicate the unique needs of each child.
Though each professional works on a team, each one bills independently for his or her services. This ensures you as the client receive independent advice and representation. A professional’s fees will also vary depending on experience, specific training, and other factors. Ask the professional you consult about his or her fee schedule and retainer.
This website provides a list of members who have been specially trained in the Collaborative approach. Any one of them will be able to sit down with you in a consultation to answer questions and inform you about the Collaborative process.
We also encourage you to read more in the informative articles on our Blog Page written by our members to help you, and to use our Resources and Links to help answer any additional questions or concerns at your convenience.