Roles of Collaborative Professionals

Lawyers

Collaborative lawyers are all members in good standing of the Law Society of BC who have been specifically trained in both Collaborative Practice and in mediation. The role of the collaborative lawyer includes:

  • helping clients assess whether or not they are good candidates for collaborative process;
  • supporting his or her client throughout the collaborative process;
  • providing legal advice;
  • assisting the client in making full disclosure;
  • supporting the client in his or her negotiations within the process;
  • supporting the parties in respectful communication as part of their negotiations; and
  • once parties are successful in reaching agreement, drafting a separation agreement incorporating the details of the agreement, which becomes an enforceable contract once the parties have signed it. If parties then want to proceed to a divorce, the lawyers will draft and file the necessary papers to obtain the divorce.

Divorce Coaches

Divorce Coaches are licensed mental health professionals who have been trained in both the collaborative process and in mediation. They have skills in the areas of communication, conflict resolution, and emotional management. They work with clients both individually and in four way meetings with the other coach and spouse. Working individually with clients, they support clients with brief, goal-oriented and solution-based processes, designed specifically to help clients move through the separation process. They work with spouses to help restructure and improve their communication processes. They assist parents in building parenting plans for their children.

Child Specialists

The Child Specialist is a licensed mental health practitioner who has collaborative training, mediation training, and training in working with children and families. Like all the collaborative professionals, the child specialist understands the divorce process and its impact on families. The Child Specialist focuses exclusively on the children's concerns and/or interests, is an advocate for the children and a consultant to the parents and to the other collaborative professionals in their work with parents. The Child Specialist gives a "voice" to the children in the process. She provides the child with an opportunity to share thoughts, feelings, and concerns, and encourages the child to feel safe and supported while examining family and divorce-related issues. The Child Specialist is not an assessor, instead the Child Specialist provides a voice for the children and brings the children's interests to the parents and the divorce coaches to help the parents put together a parenting plan that meets the children's best interests.

Financial Specialists

The Financial Specialist may be a Certified Financial Professional, CA, CGA, or Certified Business Valuator, who has collaborative training as well as mediation training. He or she is a neutral and not aligned with either client, As a neutral, the financial specialist may help spouses analyze cash flow, analyze long-term outcomes of proposed financial agreements and can assist with budgeting and/or education. Financial Specialists can provide tax advice, business valuators working in the collaborative process can provide neutral valuations of business assets.

The Collaborative Team

The collaborative team consists of the particular collaborative professionals that you and your spouse have retained. These team members work together for your family to help de-escalate and contain conflict, and to help move you safely through the divorce process to a solution that meets the parent's individual needs and the needs of the children.