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Collaborative Divorce: Working As A Team

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Collaborative Divorce: Working As A Team

Clients want a divorce to be as efficient and effective as is possible. Of course we want this in most things we do. In Collaborative Divorce we are working as a team to help clients through. Some of the qualities that make a good team in my opinion is that first and foremost you need to be willing to work together, feel good about the professionals that are on board, have a level of trust and respect. Be willing to address things without fear of persecution or concern that you will offend (I call this psychological safety-feeling safe to ask questions and express your concerns).

But so far in my experience with collaborative cases specifically, to be efficient and effective as a team you need to be on top of things. You need to make sure everyone knows their part to play every step of the way, trust they are doing it like a team player would, and get feedback of progress made or challenges that arose so that together we can troubleshoot how to move forward. Many of these aspects requires timely responsiveness. The case that have been most frustrating for me have not been the ones where clients are “all over the place” emotionally, or with tasks, (that is to be expected- as their life is turning upside down and being rearranged permanently all in real time as life keeps moving on) but has been the ones where the professionals didn’t respond to emails or phone calls. Questions are being asked. Information needs to be gathered and without responsiveness we are left hanging in the air. Waiting and wondering. Not knowing the answer. Gaps in understanding of what is happening and why may begin to widen and more room is left open for interpretation. In my experience and my opinion, the more room left open to interpretation, the greater chance our interpretations are off the mark.

The way I see it, the team (including the clients) are in one big three legged race (in a Collaborative case, let’s call it a “six-legged race”) to the finish line and non-responsiveness is one obstacle that slows the team down. It is a factor we have to work with non-the-less but if I had a choice, I would much prefer the obstacles to progress be coming from the clients, and not the professionals.

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