The average cost of a divorce in the United States is between $15,000 and $20,000. It can be less expensive both financially and emotionally when you and your spouse are committed to working out your issues to benefit all members of the family in a collaborative divorce. To make this possible, it’s a good idea to gather a collaborative divorce team to support you through the process.
Who Makes Up Your Collaborative Divorce Team?
Your collaborative divorce team is composed of several professionals who work together to help you and your spouse reach positive outcomes on the issues that remain to be resolved. They focus on the interests of all members of the family and work towards a solution that is satisfactory to both spouses and that protects the best interests of the children. These professionals can include:
- Each spouse’s divorce lawyer
- A collaborative financial professional who can explain all aspects of the couple’s finances and the consequences of financial decisions
- A divorce coach to help spouses learn to communicate and negotiate amicably
- A mental health professional who specializes in family issues and child development
Why Is a Collaborative Divorce Team Important?
As with any process, your support team is vital for success. In a collaborative divorce, this team is made up of professionals who can help you understand the different areas that are relevant as well as help you find solutions to any issues that you’re facing. The team should be made up of professionals who are knowledgeable about and committed to the collaborative process. They can help you find ways to better communicate with your spouse, focus on the needs of the children, and understand your legal and financial situation.
The Divorcing Spouses and the Collaborative Divorce Team
Both spouses are also active members of the team. The collaborative divorce process allows them to keep control of the outcome as they work their way to solutions that they both approve of. While each spouse consults with their own divorce lawyer, they also work together with the other team members and with each other to find a way forward. They can be creative in resolving issues and can ask their team members for clarification and specific support. Team members can help spouses look at different options available to them to help them choose the one that best fits the needs of their family.
The Importance of a Financial Professional
The financial choices made during a divorce will impact each spouse’s life afterward. For this reason, a financial professional can help the spouses understand their own financial status during and after the divorce and explain the different options they have and the impact of each choice, including tax consequences. Finally, they can help each spouse financially plan for their post-divorce future, creating realistic budgets and evaluating their future financial needs.
Supporting the Family Through the Process
Legal and financial issues are not the only factors in a collaborative divorce. The emotional impact will have repercussions for years to come. To assist with this side of the process, spouses can work with a divorce coach who can help them learn methods of positive communication and conflict resolution and understand the family dynamics, including the triggers that might lead to conflict. A divorce coach can also help the couple develop a custody plan and provide tools as the family transitions into the new normal.
Similarly, when the couple has children, a mental health professional focused on child development can assist the parents in maintaining the interests of the children at the forefront of the process and help them focus on what outcomes they want as a family for the future. They may even be able to meet with the children independently to help them address any feelings that they’re having.
Finding the right lawyer who is committed to the collaborative process is important for the success of your divorce. Joanne Kleiner can answer your questions and guide you through the process. You can contact us at the Office of Joanne Kleiner in Jenkintown at 215-886-1266 to make an appointment for an initial consultation.