After the participants have signed the Collaborative Divorce agreement, the participants will then identify all concerns or issues they may have and wish to discuss in the meetings. When discussing each concern or issue the Professionals prefer to use the following process, that some like to call F.O.R.D.:
In this stage the participants will gather all facts concerning the issue that the participants are discussing. While the members all know about the date of marriage; the length of the marriage; if there are any children, the connection the children have with the home, location of the home in relation to the children’s school, etc.
In this stage of the discussion, the participants and the professionals will all provide options as to how to resolve the issue or concern. During the option gathering stage, it is best if the participants resist the temptation for making comments at the options given by the other participant or other professionals. By having all the options provided at once, it will give the participants an opportunity to see all options before making a decision. While some participants may find it hard to resist making comments about the options, it is best not to say them at this time as it is helpful to keep the process moving.
Review Options/Evaluate the Options:
During this stage, the participants with the professionals will review/evaluate all the options generated. The participants will discuss the pros and cons of each option. The participants may even think of more options that were not originally provided. Each participant will go through the options and state whether they are in agreement or not, then the other participant will go through the list. After the participants have gone through the lists, if there are any options that the participants both agree can come off the list, it will be eliminated. The participants will then discuss the remaining options and give their reasons behind each. The attorneys will provide legal advice about each option, if there are any legal implications. The mental health coaches may assist the participants in understanding the other participants’ view and help their participant convey their true meanings without emotions or tensions. The financial neutral will be able to provide a cost benefit analysis of the options generated.
In this last stage, the participants will make their decisions from the options generated. The participants will want to ultimately come to a decision that each participant finds acceptable. This decision will then be drafted into an acceptable agreement.
The participants will continue the steps for each concern or issue that they have presented or they wish to be discussed.