Child Specialists are key collaborative team members when the legal dispute involves children. The Child Specialist evaluates the needs of the children and offers parents information that will help them make plans in the children’s best interests. Child Specialists have great flexibility in gathering information. They may talk with children, parents, other family members, teachers, daycare providers, therapists, and so on. Rather than making recommendations, the Child Specialist’s assessment and insights into the children’s needs are provided to parents in a team or partial-team meeting. This allows parents to be central in developing a parenting plan.
Coaches are mental health professionals trained in the Collaborative Process. They assist clients in identifying their concerns and exploring emotional issues that make it difficult to resolve problems. The coach and client also work on communication techniques in preparation for meetings with the other party or professionals from the team. Coaches address grief, psychological aspects of divorce, co-parenting, family dynamics, and other relevant issues. Much of the discussion is future oriented, preparing the client for what lies ahead. The collaborative process works toward building lasting parenting and communication skills that build relationships on new terms with enhanced problem-solving abilities. Coaches help clients establish new ways to meet future challenges in more satisfying, emotionally and financially cost-effective ways.
Vocational Counselors can be vital members of a collaborative divorce team by assisting the clients in evaluating vocational skills, earning projections, training or educational needs, and labor market conditions. A spouse may need considerable career information and support during the process of re-entering the job market. The results of this assessment are shared with the clients in a five-way meeting with the clients and their attorneys. This information is used to determine issues such as spousal support.