How to Create a Strong Collaborative Divorce Team
Collaborative divorce is an increasingly popular divorce option because it focuses on your needs, not the court process. You work with a skilled and caring team of professionals to take away a lot of the uncertainty and stress associated with divorce and arrive at solutions that benefit you and your spouse.
So what exactly does a strong collaborative team look like? Although no two teams are exactly alike, a strong one allows you to harness a broad and diverse range of skills, insights, and creativity. This helps ensure that all areas — legal, financial, and emotional — are covered as you focus on problem-solving together.
Your team will be assembled according to your needs, but members typically include the professionals listed below.
Who Are the Players in a Collaborative Divorce Team?
Attorneys Trained in Collaborative Divorce
Collaborative divorce teams include two attorneys, one for you and one for your spouse. In every divorce, you want to make sure that your attorney is experienced with divorce and family law. When you and your spouse are considering a collaborative divorce, it is critical that your attorney has also received special training in collaborative divorce.
Because the attorneys have been hired to reach a fair and acceptable agreement and not “win” a case, the negotiations are quite different than those in a litigated divorce. Both sides will work together to create a positive and trust-driven atmosphere that is focused on reaching a resolution instead of winning a courtroom battle.
A neutral financial specialist trained in collaborative divorce helps you educate you and your attorney about your financial situation. After compiling and analyzing financial data, the financial advisor prepares financial affidavits, budgets, creates projections, and identifies tax considerations so that you can determine in advance what future financial needs are covered.
Depending on your assets, you may also need assistance from a real estate appraiser if you and your spouse own a lot of real estate together or a valuation expert if a business is included in your marital assets.
Divorce coaches are an important part of the collaborative law process. They are mental health professionals who act as mentors and help manage both practical and emotional parts of the divorce process. If you have children, divorce coaches can even work with you and your spouse to come up with a parenting plan and cultivate vital co-parenting skills. A good collaborative divorce coach is 100% dedicated to providing you with helpful coping skills that make this transition in your life easy to manage.
Child specialists represent your children’s perspective. They have a solid background in child development, especially where children of divorce are concerned, and use their understanding and insights to help you and your spouse make the best co-parenting decisions. This way, the transitions associated with divorce are less stressful for your children. In Connecticut, is very common for the Divorce Coach to also serve in the Child Specialist role.
Collaborative divorce is a group process, so everyone on your team will communicate with each other to ensure that everything is coordinated properly. Your personal team may not necessarily consist of all the professionals covered here, but knowing your options allows you to choose the exact support you need.
If you and your spouse are willing to work together on your divorce, the collaborative route will help you complete all necessary negotiations and agreements in a respectful and positive manner.
If you would like to learn more about the different ways to divorce in Connecticut — collaborative divorce, mediation, and litigation — click here to watch our Founding Attorney Meghan Freed’s full presentation on Choosing Your Approach to Divorce.
At Freed Marcroft, we have helped hundreds of people move forward to a better life and make informed choices about their divorce options. At our first step, the Goals & Planning Conference, we start by working through these questions with you to help you figure out your goals. If you decide that divorce is part of what you need to do to get you to the future you want, we can help you. If it isn’t, we will support you and help you figure out what you need to get you there instead.
Let’s keep you moving forward.