Couples who want to have an amicable divorce and stay out of court, but want to have ongoing legal guidance every step of the way as they negotiate their agreements, often choose a collaborative divorce approach as opposed to a litigated one.
Collaborative divorce is a good choice for couples who can reach agreements on key issues without having to take the matter to a judge. By staying out of court, they can prevent some of their divorce documents from becoming part of the public record. They also typically save time and money. By using this process, divorcing spouses can focus on working together rather than working against one another.
What kind of outside guidance can benefit your divorce process?
With this type of divorce, couples often prefer to share neutral financial and other professional advisors who work for both of them – for example, when they’re determining the value of their property, working on budgets for support issues, evaluating how assets and debts will be divided, and working out parenting plans. Some even have their own divorce coaches.
One professional that parents of minor children often rely on together is a collaborative divorce child specialist. These are typically mental health professionals trained to work with parents who want to create a parenting plan and other agreements that are in their children’s best interests.
What does a child specialist do?
A child specialist will spend time with the parents, and with the child or children, and determine what their biggest concerns, fears and wishes are. Since kids are often more comfortable opening up to someone outside the family who wants to know what’s on their mind, they may be willing to tell them things that they don’t want to bother their parents with – or that no one has thought to ask them.
This kind of support can allow parents to better help their child through this time. It can also help them develop a parenting plan that works best for their child. For example, maybe their child is most concerned that their favorite grandmother will no longer be their primary babysitter. That may be something that can be worked into the parenting plan.
The parties you bring into your collaborative divorce are up to you, and your collaborative attorneys will help with determining what additional collaborative professionals would be beneficial. It’s important, however, that all of these advisors, just like your legal representatives, are collaboratively-trained and experienced in the collaborative divorce process so that they can provide the kind of help you need.