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Take the Collaborative Tour
The following “Tour” will provide you with an overview of the Collaborative Process, the professionals you will work with as you participate, and how they support you. While the Collaborative Process is well defined, it is flexible and you and your team will do what works for you and your situation.
Your Collaborative Attorney has obtained specialized training beyond that which is required of all attorneys. In addition to continuing education requirements established by the State of Wisconsin, the CFLCW member also agrees to ongoing continuing education in the Collaborative Process.
In this video, experienced divorce attorney Christy Brooks, JD, discusses her initial reaction to the idea of Collaborative Practice, why she embraced the approach and provides a very practical summary of the Collaborative Process.
Susan Schroeder, LPC discusses the role of the mental health specialist as a Coach or Child Specialist in the Collaborative Process.
Mental Health professionals serve as Coaches or Child Specialists. Some may serve as a Coach in one team/case and as a Child Specialist in another. These professionals can be licensed psychologists holding Masters or Doctorate degrees, or licensed clinical social workers, marriage and family therapists, or Masters in social work.
The Divorce Coach has experience working with adults and families facing the challenges of major life transitions. The Coach brings skills in the areas of communication, conflict resolution, co-parenting, and stress or emotional management.
The Divorce Coach helps each client individually, and in meetings with the spouse and his/her coach, by addressing the ‘human side’ of divorce. The Divorce Coach assures that each spouse has the opportunity to tell his/her story, identify possible conflicts, and help the client to express goals, needs, and desires in a safe environment.
Kathy Gehl, PsyD, an experienced Child Specialist discusses the impact of divorce upon children and the role of the Child Specialist in the Collaborative Process
A Child Specialist is a licensed mental health professional with specific training in the Collaborative Divorce Process. The Child Specialist has expertise in the areas of family therapy, child development, child and adolescent therapy, families in life transitions, co-parent counseling and child custody and placement issues.
The Collaborative Child Specialist does not function in the role of a therapist for your family. The Child Specialist remains neutral throughout the Collaborative Process to assure that each family member is free to speak. Children are often silent participants in divorce, and Collaborative recognizes that children are profoundly impacted by their parents’ divorce. Remaining neutral, the Child Specialist is able to provide the parents, and the team, with valuable information, options, ideas and suggestions that reflect the best interests of the children. However, parents always have final decision making responsibilities regarding their children.
The Collaborative Divorce Process recognizes divorce is more than a legal matter. A key component of the team is the Financial Specialist, commonly referred to as the Financial Neutral. This specialist provides the team, and the collaborative process, with an unbiased assessment of the financial situation faced by the family and offers analysis about specific issues that may arise during the problem solving process.
The financial specialist can be a certified financial planner,(CFP), certified public accountant, (CPA), certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA), or other financial professional with the right training and experience to handle the unique financial challenges presented in divorce and family law cases.
Gaylene Stingl, CPA, an experienced Collaborative Financial Neutral discusses how the Financial Neutral helps a couple understand what is and what can be for their financial futures
Attorney Karyn Gimbel Youso, JD discusses client responsibility and control in the Collaborative approach.
YOU AND YOUR ROLE AS A TEAM MEMBER
In simple terms, the collaborative family law process is identified as two clients and two attorneys, bound by a formal agreement, who use a collaborative approach to avoid submitting contested issues to the court.
But collaborative practice at its best is a flexible process, relying on professionals from other disciplines as you need them. This team of people works together toward one goal: maximizing the benefit to your family.
In every Collaborative case, the client – you – are an integral part of the team, and this is because you and your spouse are the driving force behind the process. Your control over the process and the outcome is considerable.
THE VALUE OF THE TEAM APPROACH
Couples are often concerned about the “team” approach, yet there are often fewer professionals involved in a Collaborative divorce than in litigation.
In addition to attorneys, coaches, child and financial specialists, you may choose to retain other experts or consultants such as appraisers, mortgage brokers or vocational experts.
Unlike traditional litigated cases, where the parties hire competing experts to “fight it out,” both parties in the collaborative process jointly retain the experts they need and consider the options the experts present.
Carlton Stansbury, JD, offers his view on the value of the team and especially the Coach, to both the collaborative clients and to his responsibilities as your attorney.