Divorce Planning & Preparation
First, it is important to determine whether the marriage is truly over. With discernment coaching, you will be confident in your decision to either 1) try couples counseling and attempt reconciliation or 2) move in the direction of an amicable divorce. I have worked with clients who realized it may be possible to work out their issues through counseling, and therefore, they avoided a divorce altogether.
Second, it is important to prepare and gather financial documents. Understanding the marital assets and income that have been acquired during the marriage is important. If at all possible, it is helpful to have the information readily available before the divorce process begins. As you begin the Collaborative Divorce Process, the financial pieces will come together.
Reconciliation & Discernment
Couples Counseling – If you haven’t been to couples counseling or therapy, but would like to try, I can refer you to a marriage-friendly therapist.
Reconciliation – It is entirely possible for couples to either reconcile or attempt reconciliation once the collaborative divorce process begins. There have been several cases where the couple wanted to put the divorce on hold in an effort to reconcile. For those who don’t reconcile, they at least know they tried everything to save their marriage.
Discernment Counseling/Coaching – If one spouse (or both) is on the fence about moving forward with divorce or working on the marriage, discernment counseling/coaching should be discussed. I can refer couples to a discernment counselor/coach, who helps assess the potential of marriage restoration or whether it is better to continue toward divorce.
Mediation – In mediation, spouses meet with a neutral third party, the mediator, to help facilitate an agreement about family law issues. It is the mediator’s job to keep the couple on task and help maintain open communication between the parties, so they can brainstorm workable solutions. Although mediators are often lawyers, they cannot give legal advice in their roles as mediators.
To cater to everyone’s interests during mediation, a financial neutral and child specialist can be called in to help with cash flow and parenting plans. Families can pursue counseling as necessary to help with additional needs throughout the transition.
Divorce & Finances
In the Collaborative Process, you can work with a neutral financial professional to help you generate different options for dividing your property. Rather than paying two attorneys to create separate (and competing) financial plans, one neutral financial professional can help you draft a balance sheet that can provide tax savings and work for the whole family.
The financial neutral can also help you address child support and spousal maintenance, and help you create a solution tailored to your unique circumstances. Many families choose a family-friendly expense account, which takes the guesswork out of “where the child support check” is going. Both parents contribute to the account, based on their proportionate share of the income, and determine which children’s expenses will be paid from that account. Most kids are in various extracurricular activities, so those activities can be budged for and the account used for those expenses. Let’s face it: kids are expensive. But at least both parents know where the money is going.
Children & Divorce
With the expert help of a divorce coach and child specialist, you can continue to be the good parent you are to your kids. During the process, you can determine your individual needs, how you will move forward as co-parents, and focus on the needs of your children.
A parenting plan is required in Minnesota, and parenting consists of more than just a parenting schedule. In the Collaborative Divorce Process, the parents can bring in a neutral child specialist — a trained mental health professional — to help create a parenting plan that really considers the children and the family’s unique lifestyle and needs. Parenting is hard work, and it really does take a village, and the child specialist is your parenting coach for getting through the turbulence of divorce. Everything from technology and social media use to curfews can be addressed in the parenting plan. Quite honestly, even if you aren’t separating or divorcing, a parenting plan can be used by all parents to help achieve a family’s parenting goals. The best part is that you decide what is best – the result is whatever is truly best for the children and their parents, instead of a court’s perception of what could be best.
We want to make sure kids with special needs continue with any treatment plans during this transition and that nothing slips through the cracks. Divorce is hard enough on neurotypical kids. But if you have a child who has neurological challenges, your sweet kiddo is going to be particularly stressed during this transition. I would be happy to help you and your family through this phase.