Posted by Stephen G. Gordon in Deciding to Divorce
In their seminal work, Collaborative Divorce, Pauline Tessler and Peggy Thompson, noted pioneers in Collaborative Divorce and co-founders of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, assert that Collaborative Divorce “applies what we know about marriage and divorce from the realms of psychology, sociology, history, law, communication theory, conflict resolution theory, finance, and other realms in a very practical, useful, and concrete way.”
The key to utilizing this vast panoply of knowledge and theory towards maximizing the efficiency and effectiveness of the divorce process is the use of the Collaborative Divorce Team of professionals: the lawyer, the coach, the financial professional, and the child specialist. If divorce were simply a matter of addressing legal issues, then lawyers alone would be enough. But divorce is never simple and most certainly not limited to legal concerns. Every divorce involves complex and daunting emotional and psychological issues. Every divorce must address multifaceted financial issues. And every divorce must consider the best interests of any children (both minor children and adult children) of the marriage.
Collaborative Divorce Attorneys receive extensive training in the art and practice of working with a team of professionals to guide, educate, and advise their clients regarding the law and the Collaborative Divorce process. They advocate for their clients while they help their clients clarify their goals and interests and facilitate clear communication. They focus on achieving resolution of issues; not on creating, complicating or amplifying issues.
Collaborative Divorce Coaches, specifically trained to help individuals successfully navigate the challenging emotional and psychological currents of divorce are essential to a healthy, forward-looking restructuring of a family. In litigated divorces the post-divorce strength and viability of the family is often ignored and consequently unachieved. However, while couples divorce, families remain. Divorced parents remain parents and if their children are to thrive they must function as parents as fully as possible post-divorce. The coach is an invaluable resource whose contribution to the lasting health of the post-divorce family cannot be overstated.
Collaborative Divorce Financial Professionals, usually CPAs or CFPs who have also received specialized training in the Collaborative Process, are most effective at analyzing the financial facts, preparing workable budgets, devising fair and practical asset and liability allocations, and guiding the divorcing couple through the difficult discussion of family finances.
Collaborative Divorce Child Specialists, licensed mental health professionals with specialized training in the Collaborative Divorce process, focus on the needs and concerns of the children in the divorce process. The child specialist advocates for the child during the divorce process and provides a safe place for a child to ask questions or voice fears, concerns and desires. Parents can devise thoughtful parenting plans that incorporate the specific issues of the child as seen through the child’s eyes and heard through the child’s voice rather than filtered through the parents’ perceptions.
Collaborative Divorce, achieved through the efforts and expertise of the Collaborative Divorce Team of professionals, is simply a healthier, more efficient and effective process than traditional litigation.
STEPHEN G. GORDON, Esq. is a collaborative lawyer, divorce mediator, and litigator with over thirty years’ experience. He is the founder and chair of the Westchester Putnam Collaborative Divorce Group and has served as co-chair of the Hudson Valley Collaborative Divorce and Dispute Resolution Association and programming co-chair of the Family and Domestic Relations Law Section of the Westchester County Bar Association. For additional information visit: www.sgordonlaw.com. For a consultation please contact 914.684.6840