What is Collaborative Divorce?
Collaborative Divorce is an alternative dispute resolution method for couples who want to avoid messy, expensive and public court proceedings and negotiate the terms of their divorce themselves, in privacy, with the help of a team of supportive collaborative trained professionals. The team includes an attorney for you, another for your spouse, a neutral mental health coach and a neutral financial coach – me.
How Does It Work?
As the financial neutral/coach in the collaborative divorce process, I coordinate the collection of all pertinent documentation, help develop budgets and run financial projections using feedback from both parties of the divorce. I also help both parties understand the ins and outs of any financial documents presented during the process.
While each spouse has a lawyer advocating on his or her behalf, the best collaborative divorce proceedings have representatives that work together as collaborators, not adversaries, and part of my job as a financial neutral is to make sure that the often complicated financial issues that arise are settled as fairly, and painlessly, as possible.
How Do Participants Benefit from the Collaborative Divorce Process?
Clients typically sign participation agreements asserting that the divorce process won’t go to court. If it does, the clients cannot use any of the members of the team they’ve become familiar with.
Not only does the divorce proceedings stay out of court, where a judge who doesn’t know the family makes decisions that will affect them for many years, but it allows the parties to create a newly reconfigured family, because no matter what, if there are kids involved they splitting couple are still a family and with the help of the collaborative team the will learn better communication and dispute resolution skills. Also all decisions are (in theory) based upon goals and interests that both parties have identified and stated and revised as the process continues.
Although neither party is fully happy with the settlement, they have had the opportunity to hear and discuss the reasons for each other’s requests about money and parenting arrangements and have hopefully moved past she’s a greedy wench or he’s selfish to she’s worried about ending up a bag lady and he’s worried about paying for college