Parties who wish to avoid the animosity, expense and divisiveness of a courtroom divorce can choose instead to divorce through more cooperative efforts. In California and other states, one option for doing this is to commit to a collaborative divorce.
As part of the collaborative divorce process, each spouse works with his or her respective attorneys to resolve divorce issues or related matters outside of the courtroom. However, there are other professionals participating in the process, as well.
- Financial Specialists: Accountants and financial professionals to help with property appraisal, determination of income categorization and other related issues;
- Child Specialists: Trained to provide insight into custody arrangements that may be in a child’s best interests and what the children need;
- Divorce Coaches: Mental health professionals who help explain or translate the health-related needs of the parties involved or to facilitate communication between the two parties and assist with emotional expression.
All these professionals should also be committed to helping divorcing spouses find amicable and mutually acceptable solutions. They should be neutral professionals in their respective fields. Divorcing spouses should think of them as knowledgeable resources that are able to offer unique insight or explain complex issues.
Keep in mind, though, that you will ultimately make the decisions on the agreements you reach throughout this process. These parties cannot make the decisions for you and instead are available to help you make informed decisions that take accurate, relevant data into account.
Also understand that your attorney will also be a critical member of your team. Like you, your attorney will also commit to collaboration and agree not to go to court, so you should all have the same motivation to resolve matters.
Again, collaborative divorces focus on working together with others to find appropriate solutions. As such, being open to input and guidance from various, experienced sources can be a crucial part of the process which allows you and your spouse to reach mutually accepted agreements.