In Collaborative Practice, for both divorce and probate disputes, both people have their own collaborative attorney. One way to see the role of CP attorneys is to think of them as co-mediators rather than as adversarial attorneys. The CP attorneys work as a team--each working with one person directly--guiding and supporting their client. While all decisions are made, the attorneys keep the clients oriented to the values and principles of the Collaborative process and the agreed upon goals articulated by the clients at the beginning of the process. A Collaborative attorney's objective is to help the clients communicate in a way that promotes understanding of the other person's point of view in order to facilitate interest-based negotiating. Collaborative Practice is an excellent option for clients who would like to use a non-adversarial process, but because of issues ranging from personal preference to concerns about trust, feel that one mediator could not provide enough support.
Interdisciplinary Professional Team
Collaborative Practice serves clients by taking an interdisciplinary approach to family disputes. Divorce and probate are not just legal situations. Both divorce and the death of a loved one often cause an emotional transition, a life transition, a financial transition, and yes, a legal transition. Collaborative Practice is structured to let professionals, that are highly trained in each area, do what they do best, giving families the most efficient and accurate guidance. Traditionally, adversarial attorneys wear all the hats, charging high fees for it all. In contrast, Collaborative Practice attorneys leave the non-legal aspects of clients' situations to experts who are highly trained in the various areas and are usually less expensive.
Other professionals are used at the discretion of each family: family relations specialists, coaches, child specialists, financial specialists, business evaluators, and even Collaborative forensic accountants. Each Collaborative team assembles around the needs of each individual family.
Collaborative Practice is a sophisticated process with the professional structure to support and guide people through even a high conflict family dispute. Collaborative Practice allows for the building of a solid foundation for future co-parenting or respectful resolution.
Client- and Relationship-Centered
For instance, each spouse also may engage a Collaborative coach or one shared family relations specialist. A Collaborative coach, or family relations specialist, is a mental health professional trained in the Collaborative Practice process. Their responsibility is to give people the communication skills necessary to negotiate their own dispute and also, in the case of divorce, if the people have children, to co-parent effectively during the divorce transition and later as a two-household family. Having these professionals involved in the process keeps attention focused on the needs of the children or other affected family members. It also means the task of teaching communication skills and assessing other's needs is in the hands of trained professionals specializing in those areas. Often, this work also helps the legal part of the process move more efficiently, making it essential, not only for its expert guidance, but for its cost efficiency.