I spent two days last week training with the Collaborative Family Law Council of Wisconsin in order to be a part of the team that leads families through a truly collaborative divorce. While learning about how this process works, I was impressed by how the professionals involved are dedicated to this process and how zealously they believe in it. What I learned is that in a collaborative divorce, the couple work together to decide what is best for their family instead of the traditional path of fighting for his or her position through costly litigation. This style is costly both emotionally and financially to the family. As a Marriage and Family Therapist, I have worked with both adults and children as they attempt to heal from the negative effects of high conflict divorce and adjust to their new normal.
In a collaborative divorce, the couple is assigned a team of professionals including attorneys, financial planners and mental health specialists. A divorce coach assigned to each member of the couple to help them approach and navigate the process in an emotionally healthy manner. The children have a child specialist assigned to them in order to understand how the children are adjusting. The child specialist represents the voice of the children when the team is drafting the parenting agreement. These three professionals help the family through this process with the goals of the family developing a plan that suits them and their personal situation instead of what the courts would deem appropriate. Through this process, the couple learns how to communicate with each other in a way that sets them up for future positive interactions and problem solving. These skills are integral to sustaining the emotional well-being of the family moving forward. If you, or someone you know is contemplating divorce I encourage you to learn more about collaborative divorce.