This is the eleventh step of a series of 12 steps that explains in detail how the Collaborative Law Process works. Click here for the previous step.
After the first collaborative divorce meeting with all team members, the participants may meet with their coaches, neutrals or specialist before all the team members meet again. At these meetings each professional will be handling matters relevant to their expertise. During these collaborative divorce meetings, the participants’ attorneys will most likely not be present. The participants may meet with the specialists separately or together and they may meet with these professionals a couple of times before all the members meet again.
Similar to the first full collaborative divorce meeting, the professionals will meet again to have a pre-meeting to discuss any issues that came up during the other meetings with the participants and the agenda for the next meeting. These meetings are generally two (2) hours long, but the participants may meet longer with the specialists.
There may be multiple team meetings, depending on the issues and concerns of the participants and how far they progress during each meeting. At the meetings, the participants, their attorneys and coaches, if applicable, are normally present. However, not all the specialists are present as the participants may have already resolved their issues regarding finances or the a parenting plan.
During these collaborative divorce meetings, the participants will discuss each of their issues and concerns. Each concern and issue will be discussed separately and the team will use a decision making process called F.O.R.D. which stands for 1) Fact gathering, 2) Option generating, 3) Reviewing and evaluating options, and 4) Decision making. The team will use this process for each issue until all concerns and issues have been addressed. During these meetings new concerns and/or issues may arise that the participants didn’t think of or may not have thought about. Having all the team members present during these meetings helps the give the participants additional options that they may not have thought about or considered. The mental health coaches will help the other members understand why one participant may be offering one option they can also provide additional insight about a possible parenting plan or ideas that may not have been suggestion. The attorneys can provide legal advice concerning different options suggestion they may even be able to provide other options that may have difference legal implications to the issues.
The team members will continue to have meetings similar to these until the participants have reached terms that may be drafted into an acceptable agreement between the participants.