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Parenting Skills

Collaborative Divorce

Kathleen McGraw, LCSW & Associates, LLC

Kathleen McGraw is a trained Collaborative Divorce Coach and Child Specialist. She is a member of the Collaborative Professionals Group of Southeast Louisiana and the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. She has co – authored a book titled "A Guide to Getting It: Vibrant and Lasting Relationships" in which she writes about using the collaborative process to maintain a civil relationship with your children's co – parent after a divorce.


The following pictures show some of the stages of a Collaborative Divorce. Captions have been provided to assist in the understanding of the pictures.

Client and Attorney 
Each client meets with his / her attorney.

Friendly Life Coach
Each client meets with his / her coach

Woman Meeting Coach 
The couple and the coaches may have individual and / or joint meetings.

Specialists
The couple meets with the child specialist, who helps them to identify co - parenting needs.

Financial Adviser
The couple meets with the financial specialist to discuss their current financial situation.

Paperwork
The couple, attorneys, coaches, financial specialist, and child specialist all meet to discuss the case.

Meeting
The couple agrees to a plan, through the collaborative process, without ever having to go into a courtroom. All meetings are done within an office or a conference room.

Office Furniture

What is a collaborative divorce?

 A Collaborative Divorce is a solution – oriented alternative to a traditional divorce.  Instead of focusing on getting the largest financial reward no matter the human or financial cost,  the parties try to find "win-win" solutions that meet the needs of both sides.  

While a relationship may be ending,  the Collaborative Divorce process recognizes that obligations often continue – especially when children are involved.  It allows couples to formulate an agreement that focuses on their most important individual and mutual goals.  This process helps all members move forward in a positive way,  rather than dwell on the past.

A Collaborative Divorce is a dignified alternative to litigation for families addressing:

  • Separation / Divorce
  • Child Custody / Visitation
  • Spousal Support / Child Support
  • Property Division

What is the collaborative divorce approach?

The collaborative approach uses an interdisciplinary team consisting of the clients,  two attorneys,  two collaborative divorce coaches,  a financial specialist,  and a child specialist,  if needed.  This approach integrates the legal,  emotional,  and financial aspects of divorce.  Based on the concept of generating the most favorable outcome for all family members,  especially the children,  the collaborative team assists in resolving conflict using cooperative strategies rather than adversarial techniques and litigation.  This approach allows the parties to remain in control of the transformative process while playing the key role in creating realistic and successful outcomes.

What are the benefits to the collaborative divorce?

  • Protects children
  • Creates a cooperative and non-adversarial environment
  • Addresses the family’s questions and concerns
  • Creates an equitable co-parenting plan
  • Preserves the dignity and self-respect of the parties
  • Preserves privacy
  • Promotes effective use of time
  • Allows the parties to retain control of the process
  • Reduces conflict, anxiety and uncertainty
  • Addresses interim and long-term solutions
  • Promotes the most effective use of financial and emotional resources

Who are the members of the collaborative divorce team and what are their roles?

Clients:

  • Works as the primary team member
  • Develops solutions to problems
  • Addresses issues directly with the team
  • Promotes a successful family outcome

Collaborative Law Attorneys:

  • Examine needs with clients
  • Discuss legal options and obligations
  • Develop settlement options
  • Evaluate consequences and limitations

 
Collaborative Divorce Coaches:

  • Assist clients to clarify concerns
  • Help set short and long term goals
  • Foster co-parenting relationships
  • Manage difficult emotional stages
  • Develop communication skills

 
Financial Specialist:

  • Creates realistic financial scenarios
  • Plans and budgets for the future
  • Assists in the understanding of financial consequences of proposed settlements

Child Representative:

  • Listens to and supports children
  • Assists parents with children’s needs
  • Identifies co-parenting needs


Collaborative Divorce Links