Collaborative Divorce is a good fit for divorcing couples who are committed to having as amicable a divorce as possible and who feel that using attorneys is a better solution for them than mediation or navigating their divorce without legal support. Once couples choose this divorce method, they sign paperwork with their attorneys agreeing that they will not go to court. They also typically agree to have a team of professionals help them through their divorce. In addition to attorneys, these professionals include a Collaborative Divorce Facilitator (CDF) and a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA). Each professional on the team helps the couple in their area of expertise. In most states the CDF is a licensed mental health practitioner. In Colorado, attorneys also sometimes fulfill this role. It is best to have a professional with mental health training and child development expertise fill this role, especially if children are involved in the divorce. The mental health training is important because the CDF’s role is to be attuned to the couple’s interactions and their ability to work together in stressful moments and to help them get through these moments in a positive way.
CDFs are the process managers of collaborative divorces. It is our responsibility to keep the process moving forward and to address the emotional aspects that interfere with clients working collaboratively. Because emotions often steer people off course when making divorce-related decisions, this aspect of the work is crucial to keep the collaborative process on track.
CDFs set the agenda for collaborative meetings that include the team of professionals (attorneys, CDF, CDFA) and the clients. Prior to these group meetings, the professionals confer on the case, usually by phone, to ensure we all have the same understanding of the clients’ goals and needs so we can support them in their divorce process. We also debrief after team meetings.
CDFs also typically meet with the clients without the other professionals present in order to work on the parenting plan. This helps to reduce costs because it involves only one professional meeting with the couple rather than the whole team. We are also available to meet with clients individually for extra support along the way. Similarly CDFAs work with the clients separately from the rest of the team.
The role of a CDF overlaps significantly with the way I work as a divorce coach. Please click here.
More information on Collaborative Divorce.