HarmonyUs > Collaborative Divorce

Posted on August 23, 2013

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From Patsy Evans, LMHC:

Divorce can be one of the most painful and divisive events of a person’s lifetime, but a group of Tampa Bay area professionals is working to change that experience.

A growing number of local lawyers, mental health experts and financial advisers are training in a practice known as collaborative divorce, a meeting of the minds that aims to transform divorcing couples into partners in parenting.

“It’s a much more civilized process,” said Nancy Harris, co-chairwoman of the Tampa Bay Collaborative Divorce Group, a group of professionals committed to keeping divorce out of court while helping couples keep their cool.

“They usually walk out being able to talk to each other.”

Collaborative divorce brings couples and their attorneys to the negotiating table along with a mental health expert and a financial professional, usually a certified public accountant. Both parties agree upfront to peaceably settle custody and financial issues out of court, with professionals involved to help resolve inevitable conflicts as they arise.

“It’s just question of how you do it. Do you do it collaboratively? Or do you do it with litigation?” said Ky Koch, Harris’ co-chairman of the group.

Michelle and Tom Gesky of Minneapolis shared their collaborative divorce story on NBC’s “Today” show. The couple remain friendly.

“I wanted to keep whatever was left of the relationship as intact as possible,” Tom Gesky said.

The divorce was Michelle Gesky’s second. She said it minimized the effect on her children.

“They don’t feel the repercussions the same way, and I’ve seen the difference in my older children,” she said.

Read more at HarmonyUs.

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