My role as your Collaborative Divorce Coach is help you get through the changes your divorce creates for you and your family by helping you interact and communicate with your former spouse respectfully and honestly, so that you can use these skills in your settlement discussions and in your post-divorce parenting interactions.
Every negotiation has emotional components, and this is especially true in divorce negotiations. Failure to address the emotional dimensions of divorce decision-making often leads to protracted legal proceedings and higher financial and emotional costs to the parents and their children. The collaborative model explicitly recognizes this essential aspect of the decision making process. Addressing the emotional components of the negotiation issues typically results in more durable and more satisfying, long-term agreements.
As your Collaborative Coach, my role is to facilitate your honest consideration and dialogue about your and your former spouse’s emotional and material needs and goals. Such understanding and communicating is usually easier with support and a safe, protective process to help each party move beyond defensively held positions. The support of your coach and the rest of the professional team provides a path forward, out of the insecurity, mistrust, and uncertainty that can undermine even the best intentions. The Collaborative Process promotes effective, needs-based negotiation and creative problem-solving.
Drawing on my training and experience and with input from the Child Specialist, I will help you focus on the impact that your divorce process has on your child or children. I will help you consider and create with the other parent a healthy co-parenting plan that is sensitive to the emotional and developmental needs of your child or children, as well as the needs of each parent. My primary concern is to help foster agreements that serve the well-being of the whole family.
About Collaborative Divorce
Divorce is a major life transition marking the end of one part of your life and the beginning of another. Collaborative Divorce is designed for those who want to make their divorcing process a humane, respectful, and cooperative experience. It focuses on both the current issues that need to be resolved and the future relationship you and your former spouse would like to have. You and your former spouse likely will be co-parenting your children and would like to have that co-parenting relationship succeed and protect your children from becoming caught in ugly disputes between two unhappy and frustrated parents.
You also might have extended family and/or a circle of friends important to you and your children with whom you would like to have cordial relationships and who may provide needed support for your family during this time of transition and in the future. Handling your conflicts with integrity, personal responsibility, and discretion also models important, lifelong lessons for your children, and allows each parent to emerge with a sense of dignity and well-being.
An important goal of the Collaborative Divorce process is to help parties avoid going to court for adversarial hearings and trials. The public court system takes many decisions regarding your finances, property, and children out of your hands and gives these decisions to a judge. During litigation, your private matters become public record. Collaborative Divorce gives you a better opportunity to preserve your autonomy, privacy, sense of control, and ability to work creatively with a wide range of options and outcomes available outside the restricted range a court can offer.
Your marital relationship with your spouse will be over, but you may still be interested in helping each of you to achieve some reasonable goals of well-being and comfort in your new lives. The Collaborative process allows you as a couple and as a family to tailor the agreement to restructure your family in a way that fits you, your former spouse, and your children as unique people with unique needs, interests, and goals. Conflict resolution with integrity and awareness through Collaborative Divorce allows for a range of choices that can pave the way for a new beginning, leaving intact your self-esteem and your regard for the others important to you and your children.
Collaborative Divorce recognizes that the law is not the only basis on which families can or should make decisions about how to resolve their divorce. Many parties prefer to base their settlement decisions on other, non-legal factors, such as the needs of children or extended family, faith-based values, practical economics, and/or unique personal goals and interests. Still, the law can provide valuable guidance, and it is very important that divorcing parties understand and consider their rights under the law when evaluating how best to resolve their case. Whatever criteria are used, the end result of any successful Collaborative Divorce will be a legal agreement.
In a Collaborative Divorce case, each party has a collaboratively trained lawyer, who meets with his or her client separately and confidentially to discuss that party’s needs, goals, rights, and obligations. Collaborative attorneys are knowledgeable about the law and have a wealth of experience regarding practical solutions to common problems experienced during the course of a divorce. They help guide the discussions and negotiations toward a comprehensive settlement. Separately and together, the collaborative attorneys will advise you and the other party on relevant legal matters, including child custody, support, property, and finances.
The Collaborative Divorce process is a team effort. Negotiations take place via two-way, four-way, or larger meetings which may also include Divorce Coaches, Child Specialists, Financial Neutrals, and/or other professionals, as appropriate. These meetings are designed to be safe, comfortable, and constructive places for you to develop reasonable solutions tailored to your unique marital and family challenges. Collaborative team members will work with each other and the parties to help reduce tension and unwarranted surprises and to move your case efficiently toward resolution. Your attorneys will draft your final settlement agreement.