The collaborative process addresses the legal, financial, and emotional aspects of separation and divorce. Each professional in a collaborative team plays a complementary role, much like individual musicians in a symphony.
The Financial Neutral
The financial neutral assists you and your spouse in gathering, organizing, and analyzing the financial information needed to make decisions about the division of assets and liabilities and support. He or she can assist both of you in budgeting for your separate living expenses. He or she understands complicated executive compensation and benefits and the ways small business owners generate income and can make recommendations regarding spousal support or alimony. Additionally, the financial neutral can help you understand the costs and benefits of the division of assets, including retirement plans.
The Divorce Coach
The divorce coach helps you manage the often intense emotions that accompany a decision to separate. Although the coach does not function as a therapist for purposes of providing mental health treatment, she or he facilitates clear communication between you and your spouse. The coach enables and empowers you and your spouse to openly discuss your needs throughout the negotiations. The coach also models and teaches nonviolent communication skills that may benefit both parties in their current and future relationships. This can be particularly helpful if you and your spouse have children, as you will maintain a lifelong relationship as co-parents.
The Collaborative Attorneys
The collaborative attorneys serve as consultants and advisors with respect to all legal aspects of your separation and divorce. The attorneys will help you develop and convey proposals during your negotiations as well as evaluate proposals made by your spouse and his or her attorney. At the conclusion of the collaborative process, the attorneys will work together to prepare a binding separation agreement and property settlement. They can also, at the appropriate time, file and manage the divorce action so that neither of you has to go to court. The attorneys will also prepare any domestic relations orders needed for you to transfer retirement assets, such as 401(k) and pension plan benefits.
Posted by Sean Vitrano, Esq.