What Is Collaborative Divorce?
Collaborative Divorce is a relatively new way for couples to get divorced by working together with a team of collaborative professionals from different fields to create a divorce agreement and parenting plan that works best for their family. Couples choose their own team from a large network of collaborative professionals. A team will usually have two lawyers, one or two divorce coaches, a neutral finanacial specialist and a neutral child specialist.
Unlike traditional divorce, in collaborative divorce both parties and their professional team members sign a contract agreeing not go to court and work until reaching a settlement agreement. All team members commit to support open communication and solve problems jointly; the contract precludes anyone from threatening a court battle.
Who is on a Collaborative Team?
A Collaborative Team is made up of professionals specially trained in the Collaborative Interdisciplinary Team Model as outlined by the International Association of Collaborative Professionals (IACP). The team includes an attorney and a divorce coach for each party (or one coach for the entire team). A financial analyst and a child specialist may also be asked to join the team when needed. All Collaborative Professionals on a team should have met the standards set by the International Association of Collaborative Professional (IACP). When you work with a Collaborative Team, you and your spouse feel fully supported in all areas throughout the process as well as after an agreement is reached.
What is a Divorce Coach?
The Divorce Coach is a role unique to Collaborative Practice. The Coach does not act as a therapist on the team although all Coaches must hold a valid license in mental health and have at least eight years prior experience. Coaches are divorce process experts, trained to help couples navigate through the emotional minefield of divorce. They do this by enhancing communication between the couples and all parties on an interdisciplinary team. Coaches or a coach, in a one coach team, also work with the couples on managing their emotions so that they are able to make the important decisions each needs to make in this process. They also work with couples around parenting issues and the drafting of parenting plans. Coaches are not team “therapists”. Unlike a therapist, coaches work with all members of the team including both spouses. Their training in mental health and special understanding of the emotional hurdles within the divorce process make them essential to the Collaborative Team.
Is Collaborative Divorce right for me?
Collaborative Divorce is right for everyone except perhaps in cases where one spouse does not wish to be divorced at all or situations where there is a danger in having both spouses present in the same room. Collaborative Divorce spares couples the expense of court and offers each spouse support and information from the beginning to the end of the process. Both spouses share the expenses of the coach, financial expert and child specialist. Most importantly the process remains in the coupes’ control.