Skip to main content

Besides an Attorney, what professionals might be involved in my Divorce case?

In a litigated divorce, you will often have the need to involve experts to clarify certain issues, and in some instances to testify.  These can include appraisers, brokers, financial valuation or vocational experts, mental health practitioners, GALs, and parent coordinators.  Whether or not a professional is needed to assist will depend on the issues in your case.  For example, if the parties can agree on the value of real estate than an appraiser would not be needed, but if they can't then a real estate appraiser will be needed to evaluate the value of the asset and potentially testify if the other party disagrees.

The Collaborative Divorce process typically includes a team approach to divorce which utilizes specialized professionals to assist the attorneys.  There are many instances where another professional can assist in moving a case forward and reduce the cost spent on attorney's time.  Here are just some of the types of other professionals that might be involved:

Coach:  Attorneys are not trained to deal with mental health issues, which can range from dealing with the emotional loss in a divorce to dealing with mental illness or personality disorders. A Divorce Coach is a mental health professional that participates in the Collaborative process. In some models the Divorce Coach is only called upon when needed, like a therapist. But the trend is towards involving the neutral Divorce Coach (or in some instances two Divorce Coaches, one for each party) in every step of the process. The Divorce Coach can help the parties deal with their individual emotions that stem from the loss of their marriage, the process of the divorce, and other underlying past issues. In addition, the Divorce Coach can help the parties form a parenting plan and discuss the child related issues in a more constructive manner than the custody/visitation legal context. For more information on the role of a Collaborative Coach read a previous Guest Post: What Does a Collaborative Law Coach do?

Child Specialist: Sometimes the process may also include a Child Specialist, i.e. a mental health professional involved in the case for the sole purpose of helping the parties understand what the children are going through as a result of the divorce, and how to help them. For more information on the role of a Child Specialist read a previous Guest Post: What does a Child Specialist do in a Collaborative Divorce?

Financial Planners:  In cases where the parties could use assistance gathering and understanding their finances and budgets, a financial planner (often a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst) can assist the parties with these issues as a neutral.  Oftentimes, they will also provide potential scenarios showing the different options for support orders or property division and how those different options will affect each party's net worth in the future.  This information and assistance can be very helpful in assisting parties in reaching settlements.

Experts: In a Collaborative case, an expert opinion may still be helpful, and any expert that might be hired in a litigation case could also be hired jointly in a Collaborative case to provide an expert opinion to both parties.  For example a real estate appraiser can be jointly hired by the parties in a collaborative case if they don't know or can't agree on the value of an real property asset.  These experts could include appraisers, bankruptcy attorneys, business valuation experts, etc.

Although there is a cost involved in using any additional professional to assist in moving your divorce case forward, their expertise is cases where they are necessary usually saves time and money that would have been wasted otherwise.




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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

Does a Criminal Record affect Child Custody?

If one of the parents in a custody case has a criminal record, the types of crimes on their record could have an effect on their chances of obtaining custody. In custody cases the issue is always going to come down to whether or not the best interests of the child might be affected. In the most extreme case, in which one parent has been convicted of first degree murder of the other parent, the law specifically prohibits visitation with the children until they are of a suitable age to assent. Similarly, but to a less serious degree, in making custody and visitation determinations the court will consider crimes that would cause one to question the fitness of a parent. These types of crimes would obviously include any violent crime convictions which could call into question whether the children would be in danger around a parent who has shown themselves to resort to violence when faced with conflict. In addition, drug and alcohol abuse offenses would call into question a parent&#

The Questions that Lawyers and Mediators aren't asking but should: Let's talk about Pronouns

I recently had the opportunity to train with two of the most prominent mediators in Massachusetts: John Fiske and Diane Neumann . Each time they run a training, John and Diane share what they think is the most important question for a client to answer to have an effective mediation. John says that he thought the most important question is "What do I want?" But then he will tell you, with a knowing smile, that Diane disagreed with him and she would say that the most important question for a client to answer is "Who am I?" I agree with Diane. The best lawyers and mediators ask their clients not just about what they want, but also deep questions about the clients' identity, goals, and values in order to help the clients resolve conflict in the most effective way possible. Despite knowing this, we often fail to ask clients the simplest questions when we first meet them or have them fill out an intake. We fail to give them an opportunity to answer the question “W