The process of Collaborative Divorce often utilizes team members other than just attorneys to help people reach an amicable agreement. Below Lepage Associates provides you with a description of each of these roles, so you can begin to visualize how a collaborative divorce team could help you reach resolution. (www.lepageassociates.com)
The Attorneys address the legal issues that a couple faces in seeking a divorce. Attorneys will provide legal information and legal advice specific to their client’s situation. Your attorney will discuss with you your needs and interests, and how to get those best met in your separation and divorce agreement. Through problem- solving negotiations that do not include adversarial techniques or tactics, the attorney advises clients concerning applicable law and its effect on them and helps them draft agreements in the spirit of cooperation.
Coaches prepare you for successful amicable negotiation of a settlement agreement. They help you identify your underlying needs/ interests/concerns, prioritize issues, and develop a plan for effective communication of the importance of those issues for you. Your coach will work closely with you in your development and effective utilization of skills needed to deal with critical issues involving the divorce. Coaches can also help handle emotional issues that might otherwise get in the way of the settlement process so each person can think clearly about the future, prioritize issues, communicate effectively, and move forward. This unique and vital role helps clients get past emotional blocks to settlement, and helps keep the process from getting stuck.
The Child Specialist helps parents with the vast array of child-centered issues, and helps the children be heard in a healthy way. Children are aware mom and dad have a team of people working with them to aid in the divorce, yet in traditional divorce a child rarely meets with anyone on this helping team, even though the divorce will have such a large impact on the child’s life. Our Child Specialists provide the child a voice in the divorce process by meeting with each child to assess the child's needs and concerns. The child feels listened to and respected as an important member in the process, and in addition parents learn valuable information about how their child is thinking and feeling, and are better able to assist each child through the process. The Child Specialist can work with the child(ren) to address any specific emotional and practical day-to-day needs as they relate to the divorce process, and can help the parents do this. Lastly, the Child Specialist can help parents design a parenting plan that specifically address the defined needs of the child(ren) and family; the Child Specialist does not design the plan, but rather provides a wealth of information that parents utilize as they wish in making their final decisions.
This professional acts as a neutral party who assists both spouses in gathering all the financial information about the couple or family in a supportive and nurturing environment. Each client is encouraged to assist in financial disclosure and documentation of the income, expenses, assets, and debts of the family. The essential shift is from a data focus to a system focus, whereby the Financial Specialist listens and then helps the clients understand the overall picture created by their particular family's financial situation. The knowledge gained by the clients through the data collection and documentation can aid each partner in achieving the financial settlement he/she desires.