The phrase “Co-parenting and Collaborative Law” has a nice ring to it. But how does the collaborative process facilitate co-parenting? Does the collaborative process actually facilitate co-parenting at all? Co-parenting after divorce is difficult for most couples. What can we do in the collaborative process to enable effective co-parenting?
When comparing the collaborative process to the litigation process, one can quickly realize the collaborative process offers more hope for successful co-parenting in the future. The act of following through with the collaborative process rather than a couple seeking litigation to resolve their divorce, is the first step to encouraging co-parenting skills. Throughout the collaborative process successful tools for co-parenting can be provided. On the other hand, litigation usually harms the co-parenting relationship due to the adversarial nature of the process which lends itself to higher conflict.
Utilizing a neutral mental health professional through the collaborative process is crucial to providing the parents with effective co-parenting skills. The neutral mental health professional is able to teach parents more appropriate communication styles throughout the process. With the help of the neutral mental health professional, the entire collaborative team can apply good and effective communication for the couple to imitate. In sessions outside the entire group, the neutral mental health professional can meet individually with a parent to offer various tools and further explore co-parenting techniques. With collaborative law, I have the opportunity to watch couples develop a communication style which supports good co-parenting.
Divorcing couples are frequently distrustful of the other party which inhibits co-parenting. The collaborative process offers couples the ability to build trust through the transparent nature of the process. Starting a foundation to improve trust between the couple is vital to future co-parenting. The professionals on the collaborative team can encourage a client to provide necessary documents freely but also to be emotionally open at times. Vulnerability can lead to positive co-parenting in the future.
The collaborative process offers a unique opening to foster positive co-parenting. Divorce is difficult, but through the collaborative process we are able to develop a couple’s co-parenting skills and work on building trust.