In the interdisciplinary collaborative divorce process, the roles of all parties are clearly laid out and discussed until both you and your spouse fully understand the process.
Both you and your spouse has an attorney committed to your needs. Both attorneys have agreed in advance to set aside adversarial strategies and preparations for trial. This frees the collaborative lawyers to work toward positive, family-friendly solutions without the burden of preparing for trial. Likewise, you and your spouse agree that all records, correspondence, case notes and discussions from the collaborative process are not to be used in any future legal action, other than documents required to be produced in court
Each of you can choose to work with a personal divorce coach to help you recognize the end of your marriage and to move on to create fulfilling lives post divorce or you can agree to to work with a single neutral coach if you are comfortable with this model. When children are involved, divorce coaches typically teach divorcing parents how to best protect themselves and their children from the risks associated with divorce in the present and to look to the future needs of their family. This work also includes assisting you and your spouse to clarify how you feel and think about issues, improve communication about sensitive topics, and to develop a parenting plan
The financial specialist is a neutral third party who helps sort out your family financial assets and liabilities. You and your spouse get help with handling immediate financial concerns as well as long-range planning. As parents, you get help addressing immediate concerns of children and anticipating future financial considerations. The financial specialist helps you understand and efficiently organize your financial information in advance of meeting with the lawyers and coach(es) in the third phase of the collaborative process.
The child advocate is a neutral third party whose job it is to understand the situation from the perspective of the children and to advocate for their best interests. Although all team members keep the children’s best interests in mind, the child advocate maintains this focus exclusively throughout, thereby assuring that during complicated and sometimes chaotic divorce processes, concerns of the children are not overshadowed by other, equally important considerations. The child advocate provides an opportunity for the child(ren) to ask questions and to identify problems or worries, and provides information and suggestions to you and your spouse as parents and to the team, especially in the development of a parenting plan.