When the reality of divorce hits, it is best to gather a team that will help you in all circumstances.

Divorce Team Members

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Divorce Coach: Your guide through the emotional terrain and practical aspects of divorce. A divorce coach will assist with skill-building, help you maintain your balance, and guide you through the necessary steps in completing your divorce, which may include working with your legal counsel.

Child Specialist: To put it simply, a child specialist helps parents use their parenting skills to protect their children’s well-being and sense of security during the divorce. The child specialist gives children a voice during this difficult time; a chance to express “what’s helping and what’s hurting” to a neutral professional without putting them in the middle of parental conflict.

Mediator: Mediation is a confidential way for people to resolve conflict and find solutions to complex problems with the help of a neutral mediator who is trained to help people discuss their differences. The mediator does not decide who is right or wrong or issue a decision. Instead, the mediator employs advanced conflict-resolution skills to help coParents work out their own solutions to their changing family’s structure.

Attorney/Lawyer: Whether you wish to retain the services of an attorney for the entirety of your case, or whether you merely wish to engage an attorney on a consultation basis, understand that a legal professional within your jurisdiction can provide helpful insight into crafting a parenting plan that will be accepted by the court. A parenting plan is a legal document. If you and your coParent struggle with issues that create unnecessary conflict within the scope of your parenting, you want to be sure to understand how certain terms of a parenting plan may be enforced if court intervention is necessary in the future.

Certified Divorce Financial Analyst: Equipped with all the necessary tools for the divorce process, a CDFA is the financial expert on your team. These tasks can range from helping you prepare budgets, creating a comprehensive financial package that you’ll utilize in developing your property settlement agreement, to projecting the financial and tax implications of each divorce settlement option.

Personal Counselor: A highly capable and trained mental health professional with experience and understanding of the unique impact of divorce. He or she should be prepared to assist with grief, high emotion, self-soothing and stress management, and guide you into a future with renewed optimism and strength. Please avoid asking your counselor to collude with you by spending your session blaming, labeling, or strategizing how to fight your coParent.

Ask for help in coping with your situation, strengthening your emotional self-care, and holding on to your best self as a parent and coParent.

Support System: This includes clergy, family, friends… ask each and every one of your trusted inner circle to support you to work through your negative feelings constructively. Know that well-intentioned, but uninformed direction from your support system can actually derail your forward progress and ultimate positive resolution.

Editor’s Note: Going through a divorce doesn’t mean that you’re alone.  We all hear that it’s important to have your support system in terms of family and friends, but what about some professional back-up?  This excerpt has been taken from Karen Bonnell’s book, THE PARENTING PLAN HANDBOOK.  For more information on Karen or her book, you’re invited to visit http://coachmediateconsult.com/the-parenting-plan-handbook/


About Karen Bonnell

Karen has over 25 years of experience working with individuals, couples, and families facing transition, loss, stress and change. A graduate of the University of Michigan, Karen has been Board certified and licensed as an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner since 1982. She served on the faculty of University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University & Seattle Pacific University before beginning full-time private practice in 1984. She continues to be a provider of Professional Continuing Education to both health care and legal professionals.

Karen served on the Board of King County Collaborative Law and Collaborative Professionals of Washington. She is a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and Academy of Professional Family Mediators.

Her work is found through Unhooked Books: https://www.unhookedmedia.com/#home.