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Your Collaborative Divorce Team
Collaborative Divorce uses a team approach. Lawyers, mental health professionals, financial specialists and child specialists all come together to help support you and your family throughout your divorce.
The size of your team depends upon you, your family, and your situation. Your collaborative divorce professionals will suggest the professionals who would be appropriate to be a part of your team. But you decide who will ultimately be on your team.
While using a team seems like it would be expensive, the truth is that using a team can save you money. The tasks that need to be completed in your divorce are the same no matter how many professionals you use. By having specialists in each area perform the work in that area, you are getting the biggest value for your money. For example, you will use a coach, rather than your lawyer, to help you handle your emotions. Because the coach is trained in helping you handle your emotions, and is normally less expensive than your lawyer, you get more support for less money.
The professionals who are normally on a Collaborative Team are collaborative divorce attorneys, a divorce coach (or two), a financial specialist, and a child specialist.
Your Collaborative Divorce Attorney guides you through the legal aspects of your divorce. S/he advises you on the law. S/he also drafts your documents and helps you in the court process at the end of your divorce. (Only a judge can divorce you. So, even though you may use the Collaborative Process to resolve your divorce issues, you will still have to go to court once for your final hearing.)
Your Divorce Coach helps you and your spouse manage the pain and strain of changing relationships while focusing on goals for the present and future. S/he will teach you communication techniques to help you and your spouse talk to each other respectfully. You and your spouse may choose to have one neutral Divorce Coach. Or, you may each choose to have your own Divorce Coach.
Your Financial Specialist will help you and your spouse understand your current and future financial situation. S/he helps you prepare budgets and balance sheets. Your Financial Specialist will also help you and your spouse identify your financial options and develop a plan that will promote the future well-being of all family members. Typically, you and your spouse will use only one Financial Specialist, who is neutral.
Your Child Specialist will help you and your spouse really put your children first. S/he will help you create parenting plans, parenting schedules and other parenting arrangements customized to fit the unique needs of your family. Like the Financial Specialist, your Child Specialist is also a neutral professional. You and your spouse will use only one Child Specialist.
Why Retain a CLII Fellow?
While many lawyers, financial planners, mental health practitioners, coaches and child specialists call themselves “collaborative,” most have not met the rigorous requirements to become a CLII Fellow. This credential requires high ethical standards, ongoing training and a written commitment not to go to court, making your children the priority, exchanging information honestly and helping you and your spouse reach an out-of-court settlement with privacy and respect.