The collaborative divorce facilitator (CDF) is a neutral professional who is often utilized as a collaborative divorce team leader and communication specialist within the collaborative divorce process. A facilitator generally has been educated and is licensed in the areas of marriage and family counseling, mental health therapy, social work, psychology, or psychiatry. However, a CDF does not engage in therapy during the collaborative divorce process. Instead he or she will usually take on the following roles.
- TEAM MANAGEMENT
The Collaborative divorce team consists of the two divorcing spouses, their collaboratively trained attorneys, and a neutral financial professional. It may also involve other professionals as the parties deem to be appropriate. The CDF oversees the whole process as a manager. It is important that all parties stay on top of their assigned task and communicate regularly. The CDF schedules and manages all meetings, and guides the parties through the agreed-upon agenda for each meeting. During the meeting, the CDF will keep all participants on track so that all parties time is well spent and everyone’s voice is heard.
- EMOTIONAL MANAGEMENT
The CDF also focuses on how each party and the other professionals are dealing with the emotions that are generated during the divorce. The CDF is the professional upon whom a participant can rely when the process becomes emotionally challenging. The goal of the CDF is to ensure that the parties and the professionals attack the issues they need to resolve and not one another personally. Another goal for the CDF is to increase the parties’ ability to work together to problem solve and create solutions.
- PARENTING PLAN
With agreement of the parties, the CDF will spend time with both spouses in additional separate meetings (without the parties’ attorneys) to assist the divorcing spouses in crafting a parenting plan that is appropriate for their children. During these meeting, the parents explore options for parenting schedules and obtain guidance as to the options that might be in the best interest of their children and the best interest of the parties. In the event that the parties cannot negotiate a fully complete parenting plan, the CDF can suggest that another mental health professional be involved in the process to conduct a social investigation and/or make recommendations for the best interest of the children.
- DEVELOPING COMMUNICATION SKILLS
Even during the collaborative process, the parties often find it difficult to communicate with each other civilly. The CDF can provide coaching to both parties regarding how best to express their differing positions and how to express their emotional reactions to issues and events. This guidance creates the beginnings of new habits of communication which will pay dividends with the parties subsequent to their divorce when dealing with future issues concerning their children and other aspects of their lives. The CDF may assist the parties in having a more cooperative co‑parenting relationship with each other and maintaining relationships with extended family members and friends as collateral to the parenting relationship.
The use of a CDF in a collaborative divorce process recognizes that divorce is an emotional process upon which society has artificially constructed a legal process. Collaborative divorce provides a way for the parties to “consciously uncouple” in a constructive fashion which will benefit them and their children now and in the future.
Board Certified Marital and Family Law Attorney, Charles D. Jamieson understands that divorce is an extremely sensitive and important issue. Thanks to extensive experience and a focus on open communication and preparation, Attorney Jamieson adeptly addresses the complex issues surrounding divorce and marital law while delivering excellent personal service. If you’re thinking about divorce or are involved in a divorce or have questions about any other family law issue, then immediately contact the Law Firm of Charles D. Jamieson, P.A. or call 561‑478‑0312 to schedule a consultation.