By Linda Cohan, MSW, CPC, Neutral Divorce Facilitator, www.lindacohen.com, [email protected], 508-291-5397 (cell)
Not too long ago, I received a call from a distressed husband, who was looking for some advice and direction on how to proceed with his divorce.
For this article, I will refer to him as “Oliver” and his wife as “Stella”.
Oliver and Stella have been estranged for a year now, but living together with their two young children in the same home. Due to the recent pandemic shutdown, Oliver wanted to start the divorce process, but was not sure how to proceed. While Oliver understood what litigation and mediation was, he was unclear about the Collaborative Process and the role of the neutral coach.
As a Neutral Divorce Facilitator, and Oliver’s first point of contact, I was able to explain how the neutral facilitator interacts with the couple to help them prepare for their first Collaborative meeting. The neutral initially meets with each spouse separately to understand what brought them to this place of divorce, identifying their goals and interests, and identifying the triggers and hot buttons that might set each other off in a meeting. By strategizing how to manage these emotional triggers, the neutral is able to prepare each party in advance of the meeting, so they are able to communicate their interests in a productive and effective manner. This preparation with a Neutral can save the couple time and be more cost effective than doing this work with their respective attorneys.