As a therapist I see first hand the devastating effect that a conflicted divorce can have on children. I was very happy to hear about the presence of a Collaborative Divorce team in Chico. The Chico CAMFT Chapter invited attorney Melissa Atteberry and therapist Courtney Calkins to talk about the Collaborative Divorce process. As a child therapist who works a lot with children of divorced parents learning more about this possibility in the North State is very exciting. The consequences of litigeous divorce proceedings for children can be devastating.
Collaborative practice offers an opportunity to do things differently and better. And the exciting thing is that it is not just a process that fits couples that are still on friendly terms, as one might think. Collaborative practice can escpecially help very conflicted situations.
The practice offers the divorcing couple a team of skilled and compassionate professionals. The team members - attorney, coach, financial neutral, child specialist - each experts in their own field help navigate the multitude of issues that are at stake in the divorce.
There are three principles to this approach: 1. Both parties pledge to resolve the issues without going to court. The partners make the decisions themselves, not the judge. 2. Open exchange of information, no secrecy, through face to face meetings with the whole collaborative team. 3. A solution that addresses both partners' interestes and concerns and that is designed to protect the interest of the children.
The beauty of this approach is that although divorce ends a marriage, it does not need to end ties or relationships. This is especially important when there are children involved.
Although it might seem that due to the involvement of a whole team the cost might be high, it appears that this type of divorce by reducing conflict ends up saving people a lot of money. The parnters can control the pace of the process, and do not have to fit within the 'court' schedule.
For more information look for the Sacramento Collaborative Practice Group.