After our initial meeting, I meet with the Attorneys and the Financial Neutral. We discuss concerns, perceived strengths of the couple, and create an agenda for the first full-team meeting. We create an agenda for each meeting thereafter. The parties always have input into what will occur in the meetings because although the professional team owns the process, the divorcing couple owns the outcome.
Getting into the process is easy. The divorcing couple may meet with me together to learn more about the Collaborative Divorce process. Then, after an initial meeting with their individual attorneys, each of the parties separately meets with me, the Communications Neutral. During the session, we get to know each other and I ask questions that will help guide us throughout the process.
The divorcing couple will decide the outcomes that are acceptable to both of them (including making decisions and dividing assets creatively!) in this safe and non-judging environment. The attorneys continue to help the parties to understand the law and then write up the final papers based on the work we all did at the table. These decisions are ones that the couple makes. There are no courts involved.
At the first full-team meeting, both sign the collaboration agreement. The rest of the team and I guide the parties as they discuss the goals and concerns for each of them individually and for the family, as they relate both to this process and to the future. After gathering financial data and working with the Financial Neutral, the full-team may meet several more times, depending on how much work the couple is willing to do on their own and individually with team members. Guidance from me and from the Financial Neutral and the Attorneys help the parties to make decisions at the table, often after discussions between the parties, if they are able to do so.