In a previous post, I posed the question "are you a good candidate for a collaborative divorce?" Once we have determined that the collaborative divorce process is right for you and your spouse, and you have each retained a collaboratively trained attorney to help you through the process, it may be necessary to add other professionals to the team.

In addition to each party’s attorney, other trained professionals may be called upon to help you navigate through the issues in your divorce case.  Not all of these professionals are used in every case, but one or more may be helpful, depending on the issues in your case.

Divorce Coach: This is a licensed mental health professional who guides a party through the emotional issues that many times hinder the settlement process.  A divorce coach can help prioritize issues, aid with communication between the parties, and support that party through the emotional ups and downs of divorce.  Each party should have their own divorce coach to deal with their particular issues.

Child Specialists: These are trained professionals who work with children, parents and families in transition.  They advocate for the children in this process by communicating the children’s concerns to the parties.  The child specialist can make recommendations to the parents based on their education and experience as well as the children’s needs and desires.  The goal is to establish a workable parenting plan taking all family members’ needs into consideration.

Financial Specialists: This team member can aid the parties by analyzing assets, debts, incomes and budgets with the goal of having everyone understand the financial situation.  In addition, he/she can identify options in dealing with that situation.  Issues of cash flow, tax consequences, and net worth, fall within their purview, as well as determining true income for support purposes in the event there is a closely held business in the mix.

Appraisers: If the value of real estate, a business or personal property is at issue, various experts in these fields should be hired as neutral experts to value said property.

The above professionals are hired on an as needed basis and can greatly aid the parties in first understanding the issue and them coming to a workable settlement.


Maria Imbalzano is the Co-Chair of Stark & Stark’s Divorce Group in the Lawrenceville, New Jersey office. For questions, please contact Ms. Imbalzano.