Watching the Winter Olympics, a commercial captured my attention. The ad included footage of Olympic athletes who fell while competing, thus failing to reach a goal for which they had trained intensely and prepared for years. Although elite athletes know there is no assurance of winning, their hearts can still break when their hopes and dreams are shattered after a fall before reaching the finish line.
As you see in the commercial, the story didn’t end with failure. Each of the fallen athletes was shown years later, returning to give a winning performance. The theme of the ad was “there is always a second chance.” Though not every heartbreaking fall comes with a replay button, we know that life is a constant process of loss and renewal.
Those of us in the Collaborative divorce community are deeply attuned to the emotional event of a divorce. It is usually heartbreaking for all family members—the divorcing couple, their children and their extended families. It can certainly feel like a painful fall before the finish line of a marriage is reached. Hopes and dreams can feel shattered. We never want the story to end there.
Collaborative Team Practice is designed to help guide families making their transition through a painful time of loss with safety, respect, dignity and hope for the future. The Collaborative Team is comprised of professionals from many areas of practice:
are skilled at listening deeply, helping clients set goals and engage in problem solving meetings that are non-adversarial in nature.
work with clients to bring their best selves to problem solving meetings, and create a relationship plan with them if their future includes co-parenting their children.
Neutral Financial Professionals
generate creative options to help both clients come through their divorce on the best possible financial footing.
Neutral Child Specialists
meet with all family members, are supportive advocates for children in the family, and help parents create developmentally attuned parenting plans.
Like a skilled sports team, each member of a Collaborative Team understands his or her unique role in the interplay of helping clients reach their goals while feeling understood and supported in the process of getting unmarried. We believe in the process and promise of renewal after loss.
When parents think about divorce, thoughts often go to their children. How do we tell them? Will they adjust to having two homes instead of one? How will we pay their expenses? Will my ex and I be able to communicate well enough to co-parent effectively?
This is unfamiliar territory, and thinking about these questions can feel overwhelming. Having a team of experienced professionals supporting you as you and your spouse move through the divorce process can make it less scary. In addition to having your own attorneys, the Collaborative Process uses neutral specialists who assist you in answering questions like these.
How to tell our children about our divorce?
A neutral child specialist helps you create a “we statement” for telling your children about your becoming unmarried. Your children will remember this moment for the rest of their lives, so you want to do it together, thoughtfully and with intention. The child specialist continues to work with you and your children in creating a parenting plan unique to your kids’ ages, needs and personalities. As part of your parenting plan, you and your spouse can agree to return to the child specialist for guidance if parenting issues arise in the future.
How will we pay for our child’s expenses?
A neutral financial specialist assists you in putting together a plan for sharing your children’s expenses. Rather than relying upon a generic child support calculator, you and your spouse openly discuss your children’s future expenses. For some couples, contributing to a joint children’s checking account makes the most sense. For others, having each parent take responsibility for certain expenses is more practical. By having a healthy discussion, you and your spouse can come up with a plan that fits your unique situation.
Will we be able to communicate effectively for our future needs?
A neutral coach helps you and your spouse understand and manage your emotions during the divorce process and can also guide you in methods to improve your post-divorce communications. Avoiding these conversations can leave you feeling angry and resentful, making it impossible to fully enjoy future events such as holidays, graduations, and weddings. By finding a way to move forward with your life with a positive attitude, you will make your children’s lives easier as well.
If you are interested in learning more about the Collaborative Process, visit our website at www.colllaborativelaw.org
to schedule a free consultation.