Collaborative Team Practice

For many couples, separation or divorce is one of the most difficult and defining events in life, involving intense feelings of grief, pain, anger, guilt, sadness and more. Such feelings are hard to avoid in a transition often defined by loss, anger, conflict, betrayal and financial struggle. Children as well as their parents can experience these emotions. Collaborative team practice supports all family members.

In a nutshell, collaborative team practice helps families identify and manage all aspects of the divorce process with professional guidance to deal with emotions that may interfere with making good decisions in the process, develop effective communication skills for co-parenting and problem-solving going forward, address immediate financial needs as well as planning for the future, create parenting plans for children, and complete necessary legal steps/paperwork.

At the Central Ohio Academy of Collaborative Divorce Professionals, our organization brings together a wide array of professionals to help you solve difficult problems that arise in the separation and divorce process. Our members complete appropriate training and are skilled at working with families to resolve conflict through collaborative processes.

The Collaborative Team

Our goal is to provide clients with the right expertise from the beginning. This is a cost-effective and productive way to deal with any issue and support your family through a divorce or separation. Collaborative team professionals function as a team to understand how all the issues — parenting, financial, relational and legal — intersect at any given point in the process.

Attorneys (each client has an attorney)

  • Provide legal guidance, counsel and advice to their respective clients
  • Support clients in resolving areas of dispute
  • Cooperate with other collaborative team members to guide clients through the process
  • Share power and authority with all team members, recognizing the unique skills that each professional brings to the process
  • Work with both clients and the other attorney to create legal documents necessary to complete the process
  • Are professionally licensed as attorneys

Neutral Financial Specialists (one per team)

  • Provide neutral financial education and guidance to both clients as needed
  • Assist clients in developing budgets to meet their monthly expenses
  • Assist clients in allocating income to meet the family's needs while minimizing tax impact
  • Identify and provide alternatives to value assets and liabilities
  • Help create options for division of assets and liabilities
  • Help resolve areas of conflict around financial matters
  • Share power and authority with all team members, recognizing the unique skills that each professional brings to the process
  • Are professionally licensed in their individual practice areas

Neutral Facilitators/Family Coaches And Neutral Child Specialists (one per team)

  • Are licensed as mental health professionals
  • Facilitate communication during team meetings
  • Keep the process moving forward
  • Keep the parties talking at the table (which may require separate meetings with the parties and the coach in-between full team meetings)
  • Assist the parties in developing new and effective ways to communicate going forward
  • Provide neutral guidance and education to parties (or parents)
  • Help parents create "we statements" to talk with their children about the divorce or breakup
  • Meet with parents (and sometimes children) to obtain developmental information, identify family strengths and identify goals to meet children's needs
  • Work with any coaches to strengthen parents' co-parenting relationship
  • Give feedback to parents and professional team members about children's needs
  • Assist parents in the creation of a developmentally responsive parenting plan
  • Share power and authority with all team members, recognizing the unique skills that each professional brings to the process

At first glance, it may seem as though there are more professionals involved in this process than necessary. However, contested divorces often involve "battling professionals" hired as expert witnesses — mortgage consultants, financial consultants, business evaluators, custody evaluators, etc.

A collaborative team will always have two lawyers on it, one for each spouse. The number and type of allied professionals brought in to a given case is determined by the facts and situation in each case, but typically involves one neutral financial specialist and one neutral facilitator.

To get more individualized counsel about what the collaborative process might look like in your situation, please send us a message.