Stafford Marriage & Family Counseling

Lynne Head, Board Certified Therapist

Collaborative Divorce

Transparent ButterflyCollaborative DivorceA Collaborative Divorce is an option for divorcing couples who can resolve their situation with attorneys, yet they agree to not go to court. A Collaborative Divorce places the needs of children first, promotes respect and keeps control of the process with the spouses, not a judge. Communication is the focal point throughout the process, which in turn lays the foundation for a healthier relationship after divorce.

Within Collaborative Divorce, a team of professionals is utilized to help a couple get through the process of divorce. This team includes:

  • Attorneys
  • Certified Financial Divorce Specialists
  • Divorce Coaches
  • Child Specialists

We offer Divorce Coaching and Child Specialist services within the scope of Collaborative Practice.

A divorce coach is used in Collaborative Practice to address the emotional and behavioral issues that arise as a result of separation and divorce. Divorce Coaches also facilitate discussions during four-way meetings of spouses and their attorneys. Divorce coaching typically is utilized during the collaborative divorce process and terminates when the divorce is final. Some individuals opt to contract for coaching after the divorce, yet that is done on an individual basis.

During a divorce coaching session, you will:

  • Discuss feelings regarding your divorce or separation
  • Learn how to properly process difficult and/or negative emotions and let the emotions go
  • Learn how to build skills and develop the tools you need to continue moving forward during and after the divorce
  • Learn how to effectively co-parent
  • Learn how to communicate effectively during four-way meetings
  • Learn effective communication skills to communicate with your spouse both during and after the divorce
  • Focus on PRESENT, HERE AND NOW ISSUES regarding the divorce and your reactions to it
  • Learn practical skills, i.e. how to budget time and money or how to effectively manage stress
  • Set goals for what you want your life to look like in the future

Divorce coaching is NOT therapy!

Child Specialists are brought into Collaborative Practice to provide divorcing parents with direction and education in the development of a parenting plan. In addition, child specialists assist with:

  • Developing parenting plans
  • Provide parents with information about divorce and how it impacts children
  • Provide consultation on parenting skills
  • Teach parents how to effectively co-parent after divorce
  • Evaluate children to determine if they have any special needs i.e. counseling, psychiatrist or support group
  • Provide support to the children during the divorce process   [top]

Guidelines for Divorcing Parents


  • Develop a workable plan that gives children access to both parents.
  • Keep ongoing contact with the children so they don’t feel rejected or abandoned.
  • Continue reassuring children they can still count on both parents. Each parent is important.
  • Guard against canceling plans with children. Time spent with children should take highest priority.
  • Establish a home for the children with a place for their belongings (toys, clothes, etc.) with BOTH parents.
  • Maintain telephone contact with the children.
  • Have children ready for the other parent when for visitation.
  • Be home on time when children are being dropped off and/or picked up at your home.
  • Keep communication open with the other parent.
  • Make every attempt to help children to understand that your marital concerns are those of adults and are NOT for discussion at any time with the children.
  • Encourage children to speak freely of their time and experiences regardless of the parent with whom they shared those experiences with.
  • Try to spend one-one-one time occasionally with each of your children.
  • Let children take items that are important to them to the other parent’s home.
  • Allow children to express their feelings about the divorce.


  • Try not to be the “Disneyland” parent. Children need rules and boundaries at both homes.
  • Pump the children for information about the other parent, relatives or someone else children care for.
  • Try to control the other parent. Do not try to design his or her style of parenting.
  • Use the children as messengers.
  • Use children to deliver support payments. Finances should NOT be discussed with children at any time. Children do not support themselves and thus have no way of influencing support. Discussing lack of money leaves children feeling helpless.
  • Argue in front of the children.
  • Talk negatively about the other parent in front of children. Children should not feel like they have to take sides.
  • Ask children with whom they want to live. Try to let them be with both parents as much as possible.
  • Use children as means to hurt or anger the other parent.
  • Discuss any legal issues with the children.
  • Ask your children to keep secrets.
  • Imply you are a better parent.
  • Use children as a confidante. They are your children, not friends.
  • Interrupt the other parent’s parenting time by calling incessantly or planning other desirable activities.
  • Blame the other parent for the divorce.
  • Ignore the other parent or sit on opposite sides of a room during school or sports activities.   [top]


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