Collateral Professionals and Collaborative Law
In the collaborative model, eventually the other experts, professionals will be
considered equal partners in the process. That will probably take a while.
One thing that you can do to pursue your professional development as a col-
laborative professional is to educate lawyers, who might be in a position to retain,
as to what you can bring to a collaborative case. What benefits can you bring to a
divorce/family law case? Is their a way to quantify this benefit? For example, a ca-
reer counselor might be able to make a case that with 10 hours of career guidance
the average person can increase his or her salary by 10%, which is a cost benefit.
One way to get this information out to lawyers is to write for the NW Collaborative
The professional can act as a de facto mediator. Often times, when the two par-
ties come to a neutral third party expert, they bring their hot button issues with
them. If you can keep the couple communicating, while giving them a forum to
voice their feelings, you are aiding in the dissolution process. You will feel more
secure doing this, if you master a few of the language techniques such as refram-
ing; acknowledging; caucusing; having people take a breathe; or getting a drink of
water or walking around to discharge built up stress. Mediation skills will further
develop your niche service as a collateral professional to divorce/family law collab-
orative law cases.
Use of Collateral Professionals
One benefit of the collaborative divorce process is the retention of one expert,
not two. Any expert hired should be granted immunity from being called at trial,
or as serving as one party’s expert, should collaboration fail. This point should be
made in your expert’s fee agreement with the client. The expert should be neutral
and avoid giving any appearance of preferring one side over the other.
Your language and body language will be important to conveying your
neutral position. Are you turning