Skip to content

What is Collaborative Divorce? Part 3

What are the roles of the collaborative professionals? The roles of the professional team members are different than in litigation. Let me compare litigation with collaborative divorce.

In divorce litigation, the lawyer often takes on many roles: litigator who will fight for you, argue the law for you, strategize with you, hold your hand, give you tough love, calculate your budget in terms of child support and spousal support, and characterize and divide your assets and debts. If we have you hire other professionals, we tell them what their job is and what to do in each case. For instance, we tell the forensic accountant what issues to work on and what the client’s position is. We also prefer a psychologist who will favor our client to help win the case.

Collaborative divorce is vastly different. Each professional on the team handles her or his own job without direction from anyone else. For instance, while the collaborative lawyers may know about some of the clients’ financial concerns, we do not fill the clients’ heads with strategies or positions. On the contrary. We do our best to remove any positioning our clients may have so they are able to have an open mind. There is no talk of “50/50 custody” and advising your client to remain unemployed so that he or she can get all of the spousal support they can possibly get. There is no talk about spending more time with the children in order to pay less child support. These are legal positions. Instead, we all aim to keep an open mind and gather all kinds of information to begin brainstorming on solutions that will address each family member’s concerns. We work together as a team to restructure the family and make it as successful as possible in the long term.

More on the roles of the collaborative professionals in Part 4, by Leslie Howell of Amicable Divorces Services. (626) 351-1200.

Leave a Reply