Why Having Two Lawyers, Two Coaches and One Financial is a Really Good Idea
Collaborative Divorce starts out with a team of experts: a lawyer for each person, a coach for each person, and a neutral financial. This can seem like a big team, and an expensive one. As a coach for many years, I’ve worked on every variation of team, so, this isn’t my first rodeo. And, I have to say, when it comes to putting together your team, more is definitely better. Here are just a few reasons:
Mediating your divorce with two attorneys in the room means that you’ve always got someone on your side, giving you feedback, helping you to make important decisions. In cases where one of the people has had more power in the relationship, or is better at negotiating, or is just less emotional that the other, having this extra support means that everybody feels…safer. And, when you feel safer, you tend to think more clearly. And, when you are thinking more clearly, you’re more able to make wise decisions, which benefit the whole family.
In Collaborative Divorce, the coaches mediate the development of the Parenting (custody) Plan. This can be done with just one coach, as a neutral. With two coaches, though, the process is a lot more efficient. Aligned coaches can meet with their clients one-on-one to talk about their communication challenges and to help with figuring out strategies to take care of emotions, which can run pretty high in divorce. This can be a huge time-saver, both in the Parenting Plan meetings and in the financial ones. Coaches are also highly skilled in delivering challenging feedback. And you want challenging feedback, even if it might be a little painful to hear in the moment. You also want your partner to be getting that feedback. Otherwise, both of you might waste time (and money) steering in the wrong direction.
Lawyers are well-versed in the financial aspects of divorce, so some couples wonder why they should hire a neutral financial. Frankly, the expertise of a specialist in this area can save families money both in the short term (financial pros can work quickly in their area of expertise) and in the long term. And, although you may know the answers to financial questions, it may be better for your spouse to hear them from someone who is unbiased and…not you.
I’ll put in a little plug, here, for the Child Specialist as well. This role is unique to Collaborative Divorce, and is one of its real benefits. A skilled Child Specialist can give children a voice in their parents’ divorce and give parents valuable information about what they can do to help their children navigate this tough transition. Yes, it does add one more person to the team. And, once again, it’s a value-add that actually may reduce costs in the long run.
It’s not just about money, though! Collaborative Divorce is the process most likely to lead to positive outcomes for children. And with the full team, it delivers an efficient, respectful divorce, with durable agreements. Priceless.