What is Collaborative Divorce?
There are a number of unique elements to the Collaborative Divorce process. It is a process that helps people become divorced while helping them adapt, cope and ready themselves for the next chapter in life. It is a process that pays careful attention to the emotional and psychological well being of the parties and one in which an entire team of individual looks out for the well being of each of the parties.
The Collaborative Divorce Process capitalizes on the fact that people are able to experience dramatic emotional growth at times of stress and uncertainty. And, Collaborative Divorce is a process in which the children in the family are given a clear and defined “voice” in the process. This is facilitated by the participation of the Child Specialist on the Collaborative Divorce Team.
The Child Specialist is one of two “neutrals” on the Collaborative Divorce Team. (The other “neutral” is the Financial Specialist). The Child Specialist has an important and key role – that of bringing the needs of the children into clear focus and in a way that informs decisions and choices made by the parents about how the children’s time should be split between the two parental homes.
The Child Specialist meets with the children and gets to know the children. In getting to know the children, the Child Specialist is able to learn what their questions are, what their fears are, what their concerns are and what their struggles are as it pertains to their parent’s divorce. The Child Specialist does not ask the children where they want to live and is careful not to put the children in the middle of the parent’s issues.
By avoiding creating more stress for the children, the Child Specialist earns the trust of the children allowing them to be open and honest. This, in turn, enhances the entire team process by giving the Child Specialist more useful information to bring to the entire team.
The Child Specialist also helps by answering the parent’s and children’s questions about divorce and about immediate decisions that might need to be made. For example, many parents are unsure how to talk to the children about divorce. The Child Specialist can help answer this type of question. The Child Specialist can also help parents know what to expect from the children based on how old they are and what their stage of development is.
The Child Specialist is intimately involved in helping the parents arrive at a child sharing schedule. The Child Specialist does not recommend or decide on issues of custody. Instead, the Child Specialist facilitates discussion between the parents, often in collaboration with the Coaches, so that the parents are able to arrive at a custody and child sharing plan that is developmentally appropriate, informed by the children’s real (vs. perceived) needs and is, therefore, in the best interests of the children.
I currently work in the role as Child Specialist. If you don’t yet have a lawyer, I can share some names of lawyers who work in the Collaborative Divorce field.
From: Robert A. Simon Ph.D.http://divorcesupport.about.com/od/collaborativedivorceproce/qt/Child_Specialis.htm