The goal of Collaborative Divorce Practice is to help the divorcing couples to work successfully within the collaborative structure to achieve a positive resolution that minimizes the negative economic, social and emotional consequences the family often experiences in the traditional adversarial litigated divorce process. Mental health professionals function in two roles on the collaborative team.
The roles of Coach and Child Specialist are grounded in collaborative law principles. These principles represent a departure from roles in which mental health professionals typically operate. For example, Coaches and Child Specialists will be expected to disclose information to the team and refrain from advocating for either client in such a way that their neutrality is questioned or compromised.
The role of the Coach includes:
• Preparing clients to participate effectively within the collaborative process
• Helping clients identify and prioritize goals; remain goal-oriented
• Maximizing effective communication by modeling, teaching, and encouraging clients to use conflict resolution and active listening skills, to be respectful and business-like, to manage emotional and psychological issues, and to defuse high conflict issues
• Assisting the clients to negotiate effectively
• Facilitating effective client and team communication and promoting interest based negotiation
The role of the Child Specialist includes:
• Assisting parents to assess the emotional, social, academic, and parenting needs of the children
• Helping the parents to maintain a healthy focus on the needs of the children and understanding their changing developmental and emotional needs
• Assisting the parents as they develop a functional co-parenting plan
• Assisting the children by providing a voice with which to express their concerns, needs, wants, and hopes, providing an opportunity for the answering the children's questions, and minimizing development of unhealthy behaviors related to coping with conflict.
Our Coaches and Child Specialists are independent, licensed clinical psychologists with many years of experience in collaboration and mediation in helping families solve difficult problems.
The Financial Specialist on the collaborative team serves the function of assisting the divorcing couples to minimize the negative economic impacts of the divorce. The Financial Specialist is a neutral team member, working for both of the parties. The Financial Specialist will meet with both parties and then begin to gather financial data from the parties. The Financial Specialist will analyze the financial data to determine the value of the assets, and to determine income and expenses. These analyses can then be used to develop several financial options (division of assets and debts, determination of child and spousal support) for review by the attorneys and parties to assist the clients in settling their collaborative divorce case.
The Financial Specialist is a neutral and is not in a position to advocate for either of the parties. The attorneys will assist their clients in evaluating the options developed by the Financial Specialist.
Specific issues that the Financial Specialist can assist with:
• Valuation of business interests
• Valuation of pension interests
• Development of budgets
• Tracing and characterizing property (separate vs. community)
• Forecasting cash flows
• Examining retirement issues
• Evaluating insurance issues
• Preparing asset and debt inventories
• Developing financial scenarios for settlement options
• Evaluating tax consequences to various settlement options
• Assisting in calculations of child and spousal support
Both of our Financial Specialists hold the ABV designation (Accredited in Business Valuation) and CVA designation (Certified Valuation Analyst). They have many years of experience in collaboration and mediation in working with divorcing families.
All of the lawyers as well as the other professionals in Albuquerque Collaborative Divorce Alternatives are trained in the collaborative process. At the end of all divorces, property and debts have been identified, characterized and divided, child custody, child support and spousal support issues have been addressed. What the two parties to a divorce can choose is what model or process of divorce they use to achieve those results. Choosing lawyers from our group that are trained in the collaborative process is very important because lawyers must change their way of thinking to collaborate versus litigate. Our lawyers are also trained in mediation and in needs or interest-based negotiation that can help meet both clients' needs.
The lawyers in a collaborative team are not neutral, as opposed to the Financial Specialists and Mental Health Specialists, who remain neutral. We support our clients and advocate for our clients without becoming litigious. We know the law, but we are open to creative thinking and not being tied to the law if the law does not work for both parties in a collaborative case.
We support our clients and advocate for our clients without becoming litigious. We know the law, but we are open to creative thinking and not being tied to the law if the law does not work for both parties in a collaborative case.
The role of the Lawyer in the collaborative process includes:
• Advocating for the client without becoming litigious
• Keeping client confidences
• Identifying legal issues
• Explaining the law and how it may apply to the case and the client
• Assisting the client with creative thinking to settle the case on terms that meet both parties' needs/interests
• Advising the client as to the advantages and disadvantages of various settlement options
• Keeping the collaborative process on track
• Drafting legally binding settlement documents
Our Lawyers all have many years of experience in family law and mediation, and all have received advanced trainings in collaborative law.