Why Do We Need a Facilitator in Our Collaborative Divorce?

April 26, 2020

Collaborative negotiation is a team effort, and each member has a role. Lawyers provide legal representation, making sure their clients are aware of the legal concepts and procedures used in divorce. They consult independently with their clients and support them during meetings with advice and in-the-moment help saying what needs to be said. The financial neutral provides unbiased financial analysis, advice on the effect of various settlement scenarios and help completing the financial disclosures which are required in a divorce.  The facilitator’s role is to manage the process. So, what does that mean?

Facilitator Supports Emotional Reactions During Negotiation

While face to face negotiations are a tried and true way to come to the best agreements, that doesn’t mean they are always easy. Even the best intentions may not prevent a negotiator from emotional upset. In fact, it’s common (and normal) for parties in a negotiation to go through a range of emotional reactions. Depending on how the situation is then handled, the negotiation can reach a higher level of meaning, making a better agreement possible, or it can break down through misunderstanding or hard feelings. That’s when the expertise of the neutral facilitator is needed.

Highly Trained at Spotting Motivations and Feelings

Our facilitators are highly trained in spotting and dealing with underlying motivations and feelings. As an unbiased participant, the facilitator is uniquely positioned to maintain order in the room, because she does not represent either party. This frees her to observe each party’s behavior and suggest ways to deal with any difficulties that arise. One of the lawyers simply cannot do this in any way that does not give cause for offense to his own client or to the other spouse.

Coordinating Communication

The facilitator also manages the production of agendas, minutes of meetings and coordinates communications between the team. This fosters efficiency in the process, as well as effective communication to the parties regarding the status of the case.
The net result of including a neutral facilitator in your collaborative divorce is better communication, a more efficient process and an environment most conducive to making the best agreement possible. That’s why you need the facilitator.

by Daryl James, Attorney at Law

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