The Collaborative Team
The collaborative team may include trained attorneys, a divorce coach and financial professionals and other specialists as needed. This versatility is one of the hallmarks of the collaborative law process, which seeks to customize both the approach to resolution and the final settlement.
Click on the buttons below to learn about how other professionals can contribute to this process.
What sets NJCLG professionals apart are the requirements of all members to be licensed in the State of New Jersey in the fields of law, finance or mental health and to complete at least 16 hours of collaborative training and required mediation training. Further, all members are committed to participate in at least 4 hours of additional trainings each year.
Collaborative Divorce Attorneys, or Collaboratively Trained Lawyers are highly skilled family law attorneys who are experienced in negotiation and medication techniques. NJCLG attorneys must receive special training in the collaborative law process as well as in mediation. A Collaborative attorney will assist the client in identifying their needs and interests, discuss all legal and practical options, brainstorm solutions, negotiate a settlement, and prepare the court documents necessary to finalize the divorce. The attorney provides legal support throughout the process.
To search for a Collaborative Attorney, click here.
The Collaborative Divorce Coach is a fundamental member of the collaborative divorce team, helping to preserve the mental and emotional health of the divorcing couple. The Coach is a licensed mental health professional with specialized training in Collaborative Practice and mediation techniques. They assist each spouse and the team professionals in communicating effectively within the process. The Divorce Coach meets with the spouses either jointly or separately depending on their needs, but does not act as a therapist. Rather, the Coach uses his or her professional training and experience to assist you and your team to manage emotional and psychological issues with the goal of promoting a smooth and efficient collaborative process. The Coach also communicates with the team to provide insight and assistance to help facilitate discussions and negotiations.
The coach can join, as needed, the spouses and their collaborative law attorneys in a series of five-way meetings preliminary to settlement, and works to keep conflict at a minimum, which allows for a smoother and more harmonious divorce. Less conflict can lead to less emotional and financial costs.
The Collaborative Divorce Coach performs these functions:
Identifies and prioritizes your interests and concerns.
Provides emotional support as you move through emotions such as loss, grief and anger which are often a feature of separation or other difficult family law issues.
Identifies and offers assistance in dealing with and managing strong emotions that might interfere with reaching a settlement.
Uses his or her training to promote effective communication throughout the collaborative process.
Helps you to develop and implement an effective parenting plan.
Helps you to learn and maintain skills for co-parenting.
Assists you and your team to manage any roadblocks to the resolution of your divorce or family law matter.
Another role that mental health professionals can play in a Collaborative Divorce is that of the Child Specialist, a licensed mental health professional with specific training in family systems and child development relevant to child custody or parenting issues. The Child Specialist helps parents and the team to remain focused on the feelings and needs of any children involved. This provides the parents with valuable information, options, ideas, and suggestions that reflect the best interests of the children. The Child Specialist can meet with parents to obtain developmental information, identify family strengths and set goals for the children’s needs in the process. The Child Specialist can also meet with the children to assess their current and future hopes and needs.
The child specialist has four primary responsibilities:
To be the representative of the child or children’s feelings, needs, and interests.
To be the child or children's “voice” in the collaborative process.
To provide parents with information and guidance to help their children throughout their collaborative legal matter.
To provide information to the team that will assist in developing an effective co-parenting plan that prioritizes the needs of the children.
Note that sometimes the role of Coach and Child Specialist will be performed by the same mental health professional, while at other times these roles will be divided between two mental health professionals.
To search for a Family Support Professional, click here.
Financial Specialists help you gather, understand, organize and value your financial assets. They identify and clarify financial goals and interests and comprehend short and long term implications of settlement options.
The financial specialist is a licensed professional, and meets additional training requirements to qualify him or her to handle the unique financial challenges presented in divorce and family law cases.
The financial specialist assists you by:
Facilitating safe, honest and informed financial communication
Providing an unbiased assessment of your finances through acting in a neutral role
Utilizing charts and graphs to help you and your attorneys understand the estimated tax and financial results of settlement ideas concerning support and asset division
Working with the Collaborative Team to stay on track with financial topics and maintain open communication around finances
Helping you to construct and gather budget and net worth data to promote conversation and settlement.
To search for a Financial Professional, click here.
Other Team Members: In addition to attorneys, family relations, child and financial specialists, you may choose to retain other experts or consultants such as appraisers, mortgage brokers or vocational experts. Unlike traditional litigated cases, where the parties hire competing experts to "fight it out," both parties in the collaborative process jointly retain the experts they need and consider the options the experts present.