In a divorce involving the collaborative process, each party will pick their own attorney. Each attorney will have had specialized training in this process to avoid protracted litigation.
The collaborative process may utilize a team approach to address family law matters. The team will consist of the clients, their attorneys and may include other allied professionals, which may include a facilitator, a child specialist, and/or a financial professional. The team approach is flexible, and the composition of the team will depend upon the unique needs of the family. Not all professionals will be involved in each case.
Lawyers are trained in the collaborative process and provide legal advice to that lawyer’s client. Each client will have the opportunity to meet privately with his or her attorney and the attorney-client privilege exists between counsel and client. The clients and the lawyers will also participate in a series of four way meetings and in some cases meetings with other allied professional to work together to assist the clients reach a settlement.
Coaches/Facilitators: Coaches are usually psychologists, social workers, counselors, or other professionals who have training and licensure in fields that prepare them to work with family dynamics and to be helpful in times of stress. These professionals are typically involved as a neutral experts who attend to emotional needs, help clients prioritize their goals, and facilitate the process, making it more efficient and more likely to result in a mutually beneficial agreement.
Child Specialists: Child specialists are professionals who have expertise in child development and are uniquely qualified to attend to the needs of children. Child specialists are advocates for the children of divorce, and they function to keep the entire team focused on children’s practical and emotional needs.
Financial Professionals: The financial professional is jointly engaged by the clients to provide objective and unbiased financial counseling. The scope of the financial professional’s engagement is defined by the clients, with input from the financial professional and the collaborative lawyers. The financial professional helps the parties plan for the economic realities of separate living. They may look at resources and obligations and make realistic calculations for future financial needs.
Use the links provided to view a list of ETCA members, and to locate a collaborative professional. It is appropriate to access the collaborative process through any of the professional categories listed above.