Elly McGeary Fossum, M.S., M.F.T - Licensed Marriage Family Therapist
Collaborative Divorce
 
Collaborative divorce can best be described as a method of practicing law in which the lawyers for both parties agree to assist the clients to resolve conflicts by employing cooperative techniques rather than adversarial strategies and litigation.  All of the people involved commit themselves to achieving a negotiated outcome.  It is agreed that no litigation will be commenced during the negotiation. 
 
The couple agree to:
 
  • settle outstanding issues in a non-adversarial manner
  • work to act in their childrens' best interest while promoting relationships between the children and the parties and to minimize any emotional damage to the children as a result of the separation
  • all communications during the process will be constructive and fair, and will not take advantage of any errors made by the other party
  • no unilateral changes will be made to assets, insurance coverages or other matters during the process without consent
 
The most important element of collaborative divorce is that the lawyers and the team commit to manage the conflict, emotional issues and relationship issues creatively.  Collaborative divorce and its participants are committed to creating a process that is safe and does not cause further harm to the participants and their families. 
 
Divorce Coach
 
As a Collaborative Divorce Coach I work to help one member of the divorcing couple work through some of the feelings and concerns they experience as a result of their divorce in order to help them make better decisions about their and their family's future.  I also help the couple put a co-parenting agreement together.
 
Child Specialist
 
My role as Child Specialist in the Collaborative Divorce Process is to talk to the couple's children to find out how they are weathering their parent's separation and divorce. I talk with the childrens' parents sharing information on how to help their children work through the changes the family are going through.  I give the rest of the team help with understanding the children and give the Divorce Coaches input when they put a co-parenting plan together.