The Many Roles of the Collaborative Divorce Facilitator
Process management: coordinating all joint meetings
The Collaborative Divorce Facilitator (CDF) is one of the Collaborative team’s two neutrals. Being a neutral frees up the other professionals to focus on their areas of expertise and allows the attorneys to focus on your desired solution.
The CDF will schedule and facilitate at all of the meetings lending her/ his neutral voice to the negotiation. The CDF will guide all parties through the agreed upon agenda for each meeting. During the discussion it is the CDF who will keep all participants on track so that everyone’s time is well used. Should a situation arise where either one or both of the parties are unable to continue discussing a particular issue the CDF may suggest that one or both of the parties meet with him/her for an ‘off line’ discussion so that the next time the group meets the difficult discussion might proceed more smoothly.
Emotional management: creating a safe space for constructive conversation
In addition to facilitation and scheduling duties, the CDF stays focused on how each party is dealing with the emotions that come forward during the process and is the person you can rely on to help you when the process becomes emotionally challenging.
The CDF insures that you are heard and understood in the meeting, by helping you identify and express your needs and interests. One of the goals for the CDF is to enhance the ability of the parties to work together to problem solve and create solutions, so the parties attack the issues they need to resolve and not one another personally. When both parties realize that what they have to say will be heard in a safe space, this may be the first step in the healing process. If warranted by the situation, the CDF will identify resource’s, beyond the scope of the Collaborative Process, for assistance addressing the emotional needs of the clients and their children.
Parenting facilitator: developing a parenting plan and preparing parties for co-parenting
With your agreement the CDF may spend time with you and your spouse in a separate meeting, or meetings, without your attorney, to assist you and your spouse in crafting a parenting plan that is appropriate for your children. You will explore options for parenting schedules and receive guidance about the developmentally appropriate needs of your children.
It is hoped that during this time you and your spouse acquire skills that improve your communication which will help you become more effective co-parents.
Communication Coach: developing communication skills
As a guide through this process, the CDF has the intention of assisting you and your spouse to have a more cooperative co-parenting relationship with each other. The CDF can discuss maintaining relationships with extended family members and friend’s collateral to the parenting relationship. Through individual coaching if needed, the CDF would be your first stop for advice on the your issues regarding continuing to work together if you are in a family business with your spouse.