The Collaborative Divorce Process requires both spouses to be represented by a separate attorney. Then, depending on the complexity of the financial issues a Financial Neutral may be needed in order to help the parties figure out the best options to equitably divide their marital assets and liabilities – instead of just dividing everything in half – an option the Court would most likely rule. Or, to present different options on how to pay an alimony obligation. And, to help the parties figure out what their financial future looks like after the divorce. The role of the Financial Neutral is more obvious to most people.
However, when recently asked, “Why do we need a Mental Health Professional? We are able to parent just fine together.” I realized that the role of the Mental Health Professional (MHP) is not as obvious. And the question needed to be answered.
- Helps to identify and prioritize the concerns, interest, and goals of each person (i.e., be able to stay in the house; keeping the children in the same schools; financial stability – whatever your interest/goal).
- Works with the parents in drafting the Parenting Plan that addresses the issues/concerns that are unique to their family situation. Using a MHP is less expensive than two attorneys drafting the Parenting Plan.
- Helps the parents to figure out how and when to tell the children they are getting divorced.
- Helps the parents figure out how to answer questions their children have about the divorce.
- Leads conversations and option building between the parties and/or attorneys, so there are productive conversations to prevent the attorneys/parties from communicating in an adverse style pitting one side against the other. An MHP is extremely beneficial when discussing emotional and complex issues such as alimony.
- Helps/ensures that both of the parties are participating in the process and their concerns are being heard.
- Teaches co-parenting skills that can be used after the divorce.
- Drafts the Agenda listing the topics/issues we will address at the full team meetings.
- Drafts the Minutes from the full team meetings memorializing the decisions made and assignments/information that needs to be obtained before the next meeting or decision can be made.
- Scheduling and sending out the Zoom invites for full team meetings.
- Hosting in person full team meetings.
- Most importantly, when the professional team meets, the MHP points out how communication can be improved in order to reduce misunderstanding and solve problems – whether it is communication between professionals or communication by a professional with one of the parties.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE DIVORCE PROCESS GO TO OUR WEBSITE www.EatonFamilyLawFirm.com
We have 2 locations to serve you:
Tennessee Office: 4000 Hillsboro Pike, #715, Nashville, TN 37215
Phone number is: (615) 994-0123
Florida Office: 2247 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd., Suite 202, West Palm Beach, FL 33409
Phone number is: (561) 420-8500