Collaborative Divorce Team

By Chicago Divorce Attorney Patrick Markey, P.C.

In addition to legal counsel, the Collaborative Divorce team also frequently includes divorce coaches, a financial specialist, and a child specialist.

A Divorce Coach helps each spouse manage the pain and strain of changing relationships while focusing on goals for the present and future.

A neutral Financial Specialist helps you and your spouse identify your options and alternatives by reviewing all assets and incomes, and assists in developing financial scenarios for the future well-being of all family members.

A neutral Child Specialist helps you and your spouse create parenting time plans and parenting arrangements customized to fit the unique needs of your family.

A Divorce Coach gives you professional advice during the process

What is a Collaborative Divorce Coach?
A Collaborative Practice Coach is a mental health professional who helps the two of you recognize, negotiate and communicate emotional concerns during the divorce process. However, the coach does not act as a therapist or replace the role of a therapist.

As opposed to engaging in emotionally charged conflicts, a coach can assist divorcing couples to think more clearly, helping you to navigate this difficult time in a more respectful and constructive manner.

This is achieved by:
– Encouraging respectful listening
– Helping each of you gain perspective to the other’s point of view
– Assisting in formulating goals for your individual futures
– Where children are involved, helping to gather information about each of your hopes and goals for your children, and what each of you believes is best for them
– Supporting both parents in putting the children’s needs ahead of their own

Ideally, this information will serve as a guide toward resolving future conflicts.

Divorcing is very much an emotional, as well as a legal and financial process. During this time, respectful and open communication is imperative. Depending on how it’s handled, divorce can either help the individuals grow and achieve greater strength, health and wisdom, or it can cause bitterness and anger. By creating open avenues of communication, Collaborative Practice Coaches can help you reduce the expense, time and destructiveness of a divorce.

Financial Specialist & the Collaborative Divorce Process

What is the role of the Financial Specialist during divorce?

Every couple has unique financial circumstances which are a critical part of the divorce process. The Certified Financial Divorce Planner (CFDP*) or the Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA*) is there to specifically evaluate and manage
your individual goals, needs and attitudes toward money.

In fact, the main goal of your entire Collaborative team is to help you arrive at a mutually agreeable financial settlement. As a member of this team, the financial specialist, hired by both of you and working together with your attorneys, acts as a neutral financial expert – helping to facilitate a divorce settlement that respects both of you.

Your financial professional can:
– Educate you about your financial past and future;
– Promote awareness of financial issues to be addressed;
– Prepare statements of marital assets and liabilities (or financial affidavit);
– Develop accurate budgets by making the best use of assets for both of you;
– Evaluate various support and asset division proposals;
– Minimize post-divorce taxes and post-decree issues;
– Serve as a financial advisor (in some cases) following dissolution of the marriage.
The financial professional analyzes the information to help realize an agreed-upon financial outcome based on your available resources. A CFDP/CDFA can help you face the future and structure your finances for what lies ahead.

How a Child Specialist help you during the Collaborative Divorce Process

Minimize the Effects of Divorce on Children with a Child Specialist.
We understand that if you’re divorcing and you have children, the way it effects them is truly of great concern. Research indicates that regardless of their ages, divorce is stressful for children – but understanding and addressing their needs can significantly reduce the stress and improve the likelihood of healthy long-term adjustment.
As you know – divorce is not an everyday event. Most parents don’t have expertise in this area, so parenting can often become a source of conflict. In the midst of divorce, it can be difficult to have emotional distance and intellectual objectivity, and rarely does one parent credit the other with perfect judgment and indisputable positions. In the Collaborative process a Child and Parenting Specialist (CPS) can really help.
The CPS offers a range of services related to the children in divorcing and divorced families. From those that are routinely provided, to those that are specific to a given situation, these services are available at any point throughout the divorce process and beyond.
Early services include:
– Education of both parents on the range of effects of divorce on children and on the factors that impact child adjustment.
– Helping parents recognize children’s reactions that may not be outwardly apparent.
– Consultation on communication that affects the child (with the child, with each other, with outsiders such as school personnel, and extended family.)
– Consultation on constructive methods of dealing with conflict.
– Consultation on, or development of, a Parenting Plan responsive to the needs of the particular children.
– Assessment of and consultation on addressing special needs in the context of divorce.
Later services include:
– Consultation on introduction of new relationships and lifestyle change
– including re-marriage and step-families.
– Measuring the effects of geographic and/or school changes.
– Consultation regarding economic changes.
Engagement of a Child and Parenting Specialist early in the Collaborative process can bring both parents together on subjects related to their children. Developing a relationship with this professional can also provide neutral, trusted assistance with unforeseen issues that could possibly impact the children in the future. And as an added benefit, successful cooperation surrounding the children can reinforce a generalized commitment to collaboration as the divorce progresses.