Skip to main content

What does a Collaborative Law Coach do?

Guest Post Introduction: Gina Arons, PsyD is a clinical psychologist with over 25 years experience working with adults, children, couples and families at her practice in Lincoln, MA.  She is a Collaborative Law coach-facilitator and mediator.  Dr. Arons serves on the board of The Massachusetts Collaborative Law Council (MCLC) and is a member of The International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and The Massachusetts Council of Family Mediation.  She wrote the following guest post for us regarding:

By Gina Arons, PsyD

When a couple decides that their marriage has come to an end, Collaborative Law offers an open and respectful divorce process in which clients, attorneys, and other collaborative professionals work together to develop an agreement that is acceptable to each of the parties.

As an integral part of this collaborative team, the Collaborative Law Coach serves as a neutral facilitator who works to understand the client’s emotional concerns, share important information with the attorneys, and offer communication strategies. Coaches are licensed mental health professionals with specialized Collaborative Law training who bring unique perspectives and expertise to the collaborative process.

Within the context of a divorce, clients often feel hurt or disappointed by their spouses and may find it difficult to listen or remain open to one another’s ideas. Throughout this process it is very useful to have a Collaborative Law Coach who can facilitate communication and help mitigate tensions that may hinder the success of the collaborative process.

From the very beginning, the coach helps to build a strong foundation for the collaborative process by serving as a useful resource for both clients and their attorneys. Before the first 5-way meeting, the coach meets with each client to address their concerns and gain insight into their needs, interests, and goals. The ideas and issues raised during this initial meeting serve as a guide to developing a divorce agreement that feels viable to both parties.

The coach also meets with both attorneys to establish a good working relationship and to share essential information that will enable their clients to feel comfortable and understood throughout the process. Taking into account current or potential areas of conflict, the coach and the attorneys develop plans to ensure that each client will feel heard and supported during the collaborative process. A coach may also meet with clients independently in order to assist with other aspects of the divorce. For example, a coach with child development expertise may help clients to develop a parenting plan which is sensitive to the needs and well being of their children and is manageable for each of the parents. Additionally, if volatile or complex emotional issues arise that may interrupt the collaborative process, it can be very useful for clients to work through the problem with their coach before moving forward in making difficult decisions. It is important to note, however, that the coach does not serve in the role of a psychotherapist, but rather is a member of the collaborative team―sharing all relevant information with both attorneys in the service of enhancing the collaborative process.

During all the stages of a Collaborative Law case the coach works to ensure that the process is proceeding in a positive way. Through regular contact with the attorneys and clients via email, phone and meetings, the coach is a vital part of the team of professionals who work together with the clients to reach a peaceful resolution.


  1. Very useful information you've got here! Thank you for sharing with the rest of us.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

New Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines (2021): Big Changes, Little Changes, Typos & some Unexpected Results

UPDATE: The court has released a web calculating version of the 2021 MA Child Support Guidelines Worksheet .  It resolves some of the typos referred to below, but the unexpected calculations still apply. Every four years, per federal mandate, the Massachusetts Probate & Family Court revisits the Child Support Guidelines through the work of a Task Force appointed by the Chief Justice.  The 2021 Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines were recently posted.  They take effect on October 4, 2021.    If you are interested in a training on all of these changes to the new Child Support Guidelines: DMTA Presents the 2021 MA Child Support Guidelines Update  – Attend this event to learn the key updates you need to know for your mediation clients. Presented by Justin Kelsey of  Divorce Mediation Training Associates  and  Skylark Law & Mediation, PC . For a full comparison of all the  tracked changes between the 2018 and 2021 Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines you can download a pdf sho

What is the purpose of the Divorce Nisi waiting period?

In Massachusetts the statutory waiting period after a Judgment of Divorce and before the divorce becomes final (or absolute) is called the Nisi period. After a divorce case settles or goes to trial, a Judgment of Divorce Nisi will issue and it will become Absolute after a further ninety (90) days. This waiting period serves the purpose of allowing parties to change their mind before the divorce becomes final. If the Judgment of Divorce Nisi has issued but not become final yet, and you and your spouse decide you don't want to get divorced, then you can file a Motion to Dismiss and the Judgment will be undone. Although many of my clients who are getting divorced think the idea of getting back together with their ex sounds crazy, I have had cases where this happened. In addition to offering a grace period to change your mind, the Nisi period has three other legal effects: 1. The most obvious effect of the waiting period is that you cannot remarry during the Nisi period, be

Online Tool for Creating Parenting Plans

It is our hope that all families find a way to resolve conflict peacefully.  This is especially true when children are involved.  Divorced or separated parenting has many complications and the first is just deciding how to share time with a child from two separate households.  Developing a schedule can result in a lot of tension, especially if parents have trouble picturing how this new schedule will interact with their work schedules and the schedules of their children. To help make this easier, we've created an online tool for creating parenting plans that is simple and easy to use: We encourage parents, regardless of the process they are using to divorce, to use this form to assist in evaluating and settling custody disputes. The form allows you to choose between the Model Parenting Plan proposals or customize your parenting plan over a four week period by clicking directly on the form.  When you click on a section of the calendar it switches between Mom and Dad, an