Collaborative divorce is widely preferred over litigated divorce by many couples who are ending their marriage and who can potentially work through their divorce-related differences without judicial intervention. Couples with minor children often choose this type of divorce because they’ll need to continue to work together as co-parents and starting off on an amicable foot can help to minimize tension later on.
In collaborative divorce, each spouse has their own legal representative (who is generally trained in collaborative divorce) who advises them as they work out these agreements that are then presented to a judge for final approval. By not litigating their divorce processes, couples can protect their privacy. This helps everyone feel more comfortable addressing hard topics when necessary. They also keep the fate of custody and property division matters out of the hands of a judge.
Divorcing spouses can still consult with other professionals who can advise them on tax, financial and real estate matters. If appropriate, they may agree on one neutral professional to advise them – for example, on the valuation of their joint real estate holdings or a business. Other times, it’s in their best interests to have their own advisors.
What does a collaborative divorce child specialist do?
When spouses need to work out child custody and support agreements and parenting plans, they may opt to bring in a collaborative divorce child specialist. These are generally child mental health professionals experienced in dealing with families who are working through collaborative divorce processes.
A child specialist’s role is to spend time with a child, talk to them about how they’re feeling about this change that’s occurring to their family and get some insight into how their parents can make things easier for them as they divide their time between two homes. Typically, parents choose one child specialist on whom they both rely.
Parenting schedules and responsibilities will still be decided by the parents. However, knowing that your child may be especially concerned about not seeing their friends on the weekends or having to be away from one of their parents on important holidays can help you and your co-parent to craft agreements that will more effectively take these things into consideration.
Children are often more willing to share their feelings and concerns with other adults than with their parents, whom they may think are already overstressed due to divorce-related challenges. A child may be afraid of something that’s not even going to happen – like never seeing a favorite grandparent again. A child specialist can help get to the heart of a child’s concerns so that parents can address them.
If you’re considering collaborative divorce, find out more about it by seeking legal guidance. This can give you a chance to determine the advantages it may offer for your family, including the possibility of benefiting from a child specialist’s perspective.