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Collaborative Divorce

The collaborative divorce process is a form of alternative dispute resolution where individuals settle their differences together with the assistance of a team of collaborative professionals. The collaborative process allows for the parties to be the decision makers rather than the court or third party. I have specific training in Collaborative Divorce and experience in working side by side with attorneys as a Divorce Coach for those who have chosen the collaborative process for their divorce. Having training and experience with this process, I understand how and why collaborative divorce is different than an adversarial process, and how those differences can work for you.

Dr. Forshee’s Role as a Divorce Coach

Every divorce has three components: legal, financial and emotional. During the collaborative process, lawyers manage the legal issues, financial neutrals manage the financial issues and the divorce coach helps spouses manage emotions, communication and interactions between each other for the benefit of the children while going through the divorce process. During divorce negotiations, indelicate words or tense conversation scan create emotional distractions that can take days, weeks or months to dissolve. Having training and experience in high-conflict family matters, I am skilled in providing guidance so better decisions can be made, emotional decisions can be avoided, and ensure discussions are focused on the future rather than the past so you can reach a feasible resolution within a reasonable amount of time. Having expertise in psychological impact of divorce on children and families, I am able to help facilitate the development of parenting-plans, discuss healthy co-parenting skills from a research-oriented perspective, and coach the parties on how to disclose their divorce to their children, if necessary.

The Process

The first step in the process is to sign a Participation Agreement, in which all collaborative professionals and the parties agree to full disclosure of relevant information with the goal of reaching a mutually acceptable settlement. A series of negotiations are then conducted with the parties and their attorneys. On a case-by-case basis and at varying intervals, I may attend meetings with the parties and their attorneys, or meet individually with the parties to assist them with developing a parenting plan; managing the decision-making process; discuss healthy co-parenting skills from a research oriented perspective, and coach the parties on how to disclose their divorce to their children.

It can be difficult to know where to locate both quality information and trained professionals in the area of collaborative divorce. From my experience and being an active member of the Jersey Shore Collaborative Law Group for the past several years, this may be a good place to expand upon your research.