Collaborative Divorce Family Consultants

Why divorce using the Collaborative model?

Divorce using the Collaborative process avoids litigation. Traditional divorce is costly, anachronistic, undignified and does little to resolve issues. It allows divorcing clients scant control over the process and encourages them to be litigants which is a poor basis for building a future relationship as co-parents.

In Collaborative divorce, an agreement between parties is signed at the outset in which they pledge to not to go to court. If the meetings break down at a future date and litigation is decided, the parties are obliged to engage new legal teams.

Collaborative divorce is undertaken as a series of round-table meetings with lawyers and their clients, and bring in experts such as Family Consultants and financial consultants. The meeting are designed to provide a ‘safe’ environment for the clients to achieve a resolution. The Collaborative model avoids inflammatory communication by letter and financially (and emotionally) costly court cases.

The Collaborative process is dignified and respectful of the clients’ needs; it allows all aspects of separation to be taken into account. The process helps clients to communicate better and allows solicitors to use their problem-solving skills without needing the fight.

The role of the family consultant:

Family Consultants, sometimes called Family Coaches, provide brief intervention and emotional support for clients who are either considering the Collaborative divorce process or who are caught up in the conflict of family breakdown. It is also used to help clients who are struggling in forming or continuing co-operative co-parenting relationships. Family Consultants can be helpfully supportive and insightful on such sensitive issues as ‘how shall we tell the children?’

Many Collaboratively trained solicitors will call on Family Consultants to work with their clients at the outset of a Collaborative divorce, to offer emotional support before the first round-table meeting. Family consultants work to support clients and the legal team within the whole Collaborative procedure and can be called upon at any point during the process.

Family Consultant skills:

  • A high level of training, experience and professionalism.
  • An understanding of the Collaborative process.
  • A familiarity with the psychological dynamics present in high conflict situations.
  • Experience in working with strong emotions and resolving conflict.
  • Skills in listening and acknowledging
  • A sensitive use of language and exploratory questions
  • Skills to effectively summarise and reframe issues.
  • Ability to fit in and add value to the whole team; both clients and their lawyers.
  • Familiarity and experience in working effectively with many types of challenging personalities.