A friend of mine who knows I am intricately woven into the divorce-planning and alternative dispute resolution circles in the Minneapolis St. Paul metro recently asked me if I knew a certain divorce attorney. He knew of a person who was not feeling too well about their choice of a divorce attorney. I told my friend that I did not recognize the name. Being a little curious, I searched the web for this individual. What I found was that family law was one of about eight other areas of law this person practiced. I wondered just how much family law this attorney does in relationship to all the other practice areas listed. Little does my friend know, his question inspired my writing this blog post. Would you go to a painter if you needed a new roof? Would you go to a heart surgeon for a fractured arm? Hardly, you say. Why is it then when people have decided to end their marriage they first choose to see someone who is not a subject matter expert in the areas causing conflict between them and their spouse? They want this person to fix all their problems when that person probably does not have all the skill sets to solve all of the issues that present themselves in a divorce. I would submit that there is no one person who has all the skill sets necessary to effectively deal with all the intricacies of a divorce. Perhaps the conflict is about co-parenting the couple’s children. Would it make sense to seek out a neutral child specialist to help the parents sort out the rough spots and more importantly benefit their children for years and really for their lifetime? Maybe the conflict is over financial matters. You would think a neutral financial specialist would be able to offer the most value to the couple in those situations. A couple not able to communicate effectively may benefit the most by seeing a neutral divorce relationship coach who can help both spouses manage their emotions which in turn frees up the flexible thinking they will need as they work through getting unmarried. If legal questions arise, you would think an attorney who primarily works in family law matters would be the best resource. What I have described above is the client centered team model approach to a collaborative divorce. A team of professional experts in their own subject matter areas working for you and your family’s behalf. If you would like to learn more about this respectful and dignified way to divorce without court click on www.collaborativelaw.org to check it out.