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The Child Specialist’s Role In Collaborative Divorce


Not all divorces require that a couple goes to court. In fact, more and more couples are using alternative dispute methods, like collaborative divorce, as a way to resolve their differences without the interference of a judge. These methods have proven to be particularly helpful in cases where a couple shares children, as the collaborative divorce process allows for more creative approaches to custody agreements, provides parents with more control over the outcome of their divorce, and keeps the focus on the needs and interests of the child through the advocacy of specialists.

What is Collaborative Divorce? 

Collaborative divorce is a type of alternative dispute resolution process wherein couples can negotiate the terms of their own divorce out of court. Both parties are still represented by attorneys, but are also assisted by a variety of other experts and professionals, including accountants, therapists, and family coaches. This type of focus makes it easier for the parties to keep their relationship amicable, while providing them with more influence over the outcome of their divorce settlement. Specialists can also help focus the issues that a couple wishes to work on, whether they be financial or related to the couple’s children.

What are Child Specialists? 

Child specialists are just one of the many types of experts who can assist with a collaborative divorce. These individuals are licensed mental health professionals who are also trained in child development, as well as the collaborative divorce process. They can contribute in-depth knowledge of a child’s mental and emotional needs at certain developmental stages, can often provide therapy and counseling for the child, and can provide information on communication styles and co-parenting techniques. The goal of child specialists in the collaborative divorce process is to:

  • Be a voice for a couple’s child;
  • Raise concerns that might arise during negotiations;
  • Provide insight into the child’s developmental processes and needs;
  • Promote effective co-parenting; and
  • Assist in the crafting of time-sharing schedules that reflect a child’s best interests.

Child specialists cannot make decisions on the parties behalf nor require that they take certain steps. Instead, their suggestions take the form of recommendations that the parents can consider as a part of their divorce journey. At the end of the day, it is the child’s parents who will be responsible for crafting any custody agreements with their attorneys, although child specialists can provide crucial insight into how that plan will affect their children. The tools that parents learn in collaborative divorce can also help in the establishment of two separate households and assist in making the transition to post-divorce life as smooth as possible for their children.

Is Collaborative Divorce Right for Your Family? 

Collaborative divorce is not a one-size-fits-all solution, which is why so many couples benefit from it. To learn more about the kind of team that you could build as a part of your own collaborative divorce, please call experienced Florida divorce lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 today.




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