Park Ridge Patch > Collaborative Divorce Professionals Help Families Navigate Painful Process

Posted on September 24, 2013


From Kathryn Engel, Esq.:

Their 18-year marriage was ending, that much was sure.

Much less clear was how Sue and Jim (not their real names) would navigate thedivorce or what impact the split would have on their three children.

Seeking to salvage communication for their children’s sake, Sue sought out thecollaborative process. Meanwhile, Jim fought the idea of divorce in a
passive-aggressive manner. He missed deadlines, cancelled meetings and stalled the process as long as he could.
Sue had very little tolerance for this behavior. Meetings and conversations were difficult. The fact that Jim worked for Sue’s parents, in the family
business, made collaboration even more critical.

With attorneys representing both parties, a collaborative divorce team also often includes a divorce coach, a financial specialist and a child specialist. At each meeting with Sue and Jim, this group of professionals secured a renewed pledge that each was committed to working honestly and with integrity.

The couple managed to resolve their issues and move on, but it was not without a great deal of concerted effort from these professionals. There was continual emotional conflict, along with mounting acrimony and negativity that, if not handled properly, could have easily catapulted their case into litigation.

Collaborative Divorce professionals are committed to conflict management and creative resolution, adopting a mindset and implementing a skill set altogether
different than those employed by traditional divorce attorneys.

The process of Collaborative Divorce is an art that requires talent honed by extensive training.

While it’s easy for any attorney to say he or she works in “collaborative” fashion, those seeking this better path to divorce should know that a Collaborative Fellow is required to have at least 40 hours of mediation training as well as ongoing technique training.

For example, starting on Oct. 18, the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals is holding a four-day annual Networking and Educational Forum in Chicago.

It is the largest, most comprehensive interdisciplinary conference in the field of Collaborative Practice, whose roots date back only to the 1980s.

In the midst of a world that seems to be growing increasingly contentious, the gathering brings together top practitioners from across the globe who are committed to serving all of the Sues, Jims—and their children—who are going through one of the most difficult stages that can occur in any family’s life.

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