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Family Solutions Counseling

Kathleen W. Shack, M.S., LMFT
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Collaborative Solutions for Divorce

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What is Collaborative Divorce?

Collaborative Divorce is a way for you to resolve disputes respectfully without going to court while working with trained professionals who are important to all areas of your life. The heart of Collaborative Divorce is to offer you and your spouse or partner the support, protection, and guidance of your own lawyers without going to court. Additionally, Collaborative Divorce allows you the benefit of Child Specialists and Financial Specialists, Divorce Coaches and Attorneys all working together on your team. Divorce is a sensitive personal matter. No single approach is right for everyone. Many couples do find Collaborative Divorce a welcome alternative to the often destructive, uncomfortable aspects of conventional divorce.

If these values are important to you, Collaborative Divorce is likely to be a workable option:

  • I want to maintain the tone of respect, even when we disagree.
  • I want to prioritize the needs of our children.
  • My needs and those of my spouse require equal consideration, and I will listen objectively.
  • I believe that working creatively and cooperatively solves issues.
  • It is important to reach beyond today's frustration and pain to plan for the future.
  • I can behave ethically toward my spouse.
  • choose to maintain control of the divorce process with my spouse, and not relegate it to the courts.

How does Collaborative Divorce focus on the future?

Divorce is both an ending and a beginning. Collaborative Divorce helps you anticipate and include your need to move forward, and makes the future of your children a top priority. As a more respectful, dignified process, Collaborative Divorce supports your family's goals for a smoother transition to the next stage of your lives.

How does Collaborative Divorce Work Step by Step?

Each of you hires a Collaborative lawyer and everyone agrees in writing not to go to court. Next, you meet privately and in face-to-face talks with your lawyers. Divorce Coaches and Child and Financial Specialists may join the process or are perhaps the first professional that you see. All meetings are intended to produce an honest exchange of information and clear understanding about needs and expectations, especially concerning the well-being of children. Mutual problem-solving by all parties leads to the final divorce agreement.

What is the Role of the Child Specialist?

As a Child Specialist, Kathleen Shack provides insight into how the child(ren) is coping with the divorce and offers options for the time-share and other logistics in their best interest. Mrs. Shack can act as a spokesperson for younger children or help older children articulate their feelings/wishes directly to their parents, coaches, and/or attorneys. Helping the parents focus on the child(ren)'s needs is essential. The Child Specialist can work to shift from "my time" with the child to the "child's time", so the parents understand that the child's needs are most essential. The Child Specialist can also help the parents shift away from financial issues with regard to the children, and focus on their developmental needs instead.

What is the Role of the Divorce Coach?

Coaching is a brief, solution-oriented, and supportive process. As a Coach, Kathleen Shack uses therapeutic skills and knowledge to support, educate and prepare clients for the successful negotiation of a divorce settlement agreement. Coaching improves and facilitates communication between divorcing spouses. Coaching helps to reduce the emotional intensity of the divorce and helps the client separate legal and practical issues from emotional issues. Coaching assists with the transition from the spousal relationship to a co-parenting relationship and divorce partnership. Coaches assist the parents in developing a parenting plan, if children are in the divorcing family. The role of the coach is not the same as the role of a psychotherapist. Coaches make referrals to other professionals, as necessary.

Clients who have engaged in the collaborative process have said the following:

"I would recommend the collaborative process for anyone that wants to maintain a loving environment for their children. You can get divorced, but your kids can still have a family".

"The collaborative process gave me the opportunity to control my own destiny".

"My children were not forgotten in the divorce. This process insured they had a voice".

"The partnership between the legal, financial and mental health professionals worked wonderfully for our entire family".

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