Collaborative Divorce is a Unique Process That Helps Many Local Families
Have you ever wondered what makes collaborative divorce different from mediation or traditional litigation, and why so many families use it? Maybe you’re curious what role a Financial Specialist could play, or why so many people even have to be involved in a divorce.
We sat down with some of the men and women from Collaborative Divorce Professionals in Grand Rapids to learn a little more about the process and the collaborative team. When going through the life-changing steps of divorce, a lot of local parents are very relieved to have a whole team of compassionate professionals committed to helping them through.
Who is on the Collaborative Divorce Team, and Why?
There are several people who are committed to each case, each bringing their own expertise.
Randall L. Velzen, Collaborative Attorney
Randy works with couples as a Collaborative Attorney. He describes the typical team that works with couples going through the collaborative divorce process.
“Every team in West Michigan has a Divorce Coach and 2 attorneys. The next most common person would be a Financial Specialist,” he says.
“Sometimes we use 2 coaches, so a coach is aligned with each party. And then we also have a Child Specialist if there’s a need for some more individualized issues regarding minor children.”
Randy says that being a Collaborative Attorney means working with a team and finding solutions – even if those solutions aren’t what you expect!
In one situation, a parent of a young child who requested a certain amount of child custody. The collaborative team agreed that it was unrealistic, so Randy and his team worked with both parents to find a better solution for the child.
Each person on the collaborative team works together to make sure everyone wins.
How is Collaborative Divorce Different from Mediation and Traditional Divorce?
If you’re thinking of divorce, you may feel overwhelmed trying to decide method to use. Collaborative Attorney Elizabeth Bransdorfer says the end result is the same from each method, so the one you choose depends on your situation.
Elizabeth Bransdorfer, Collaborative Attorney
“Whether or not you want a mediation process which is very informal and unstructured, or a collaborative process which is more structured and supported by multidisciplinary professionals, or a litigation process which is the most highly structured and the most adversarial, depends largely on where you are at the beginning when you first come to talk to someone about divorce and what you think you can do, what you trust your spouse to do, and how important it is to you to lay the groundwork for the future, not just get through the immediate crisis,” says Liz.
Liz says that 98% of cases settle so she recommends looking into mediation or collaborative processes to see if you can avoid the bad parts of litigation by being in that 98%.