Who’s Involved in the Process?

Focuses on the long-term financial effects of divorce. Areas of expertise include alimony, dividing property, determining the future value of retirement and pension funds, and calculating any divorce payments. Basically, they focus on anything will affect your long-term financial picture in the case of divorce.

(NON-LITIGATION), also known as collaborative practice, divorce or family law, is a legal process enabling couples who have decided to separate or end their marriage to work with their collaborative professionals including collaboratively trained lawyers, coaches and financial professionals in order to avoid the uncertain outcome of court and to achieve a settlement that best meets the specific needs of both parties and their children without the underlying threat of litigation.

The parties and their lawyers begin the case with a common commitment of creatively settling all issues.  They go to court only if they cannot reach a reasonable settlement.  They use an agreement describing how the negotiation process will work. If the parties do not settle, the lawyers can continue to represent them. The process is very flexible and can be as formal or informal as desired.  For example, the cooperative negotiation agreement may be oral or in writing.  The process typically involves “four-way meetings” with the parties and lawyers, though some negotiation may be directly between the lawyers or parties when appropriate. The agreement may provide for a “cooling off” period before the parties could go to court (except in an emergency).  If parties and lawyers have a hard time reaching agreement, they may hire a mediator to help resolve disagreements.  The process may take place before a case is filed in court or while a court case is pending. In some places, the court may support the process. . (ref. americanbar.org)

Child custody evaluation is a process in which a mental health professional, typically a psychologist, evaluates you, your child, and your co-parent to make a recommendation to the court regarding custody and visitation.

Advocates for clients who are in need of help in repairing their finances by negotiating with lenders and creditors on their behalf.

Is a flexible, goal-oriented process designed to support, motivate, and guide people going through divorce to help them make the best possible decisions for their future, based on their particular interests, needs, and concerns. Divorce coaches have different professional backgrounds and are selected based on the specific needs of the clients.  For example, some divorce coaches are financial planners, mental health professionals, lawyers, or mediators who have experience dealing with divorcing clients.  (ref. americanbar.org)

Is a neutral third party who has special training to assist divorcing couples in discussing and resolving issues related to their separation and divorce.

Is used in a contested action, where someone else, such as a judge may make the final decisions for the parties unless the parties settle before trial. During the litigation process, there may be a series of hearings and temporary orders (e.g. temporary custody and support), culminating in the final orders. Final orders regarding the real issues in the case (e.g. custody, support, division of assets) are usually entered only after there has been a trial with witnesses. (ref. americanbar.org)

Perform essential yet different functions in the field of market analysis. Financial analysts research financial statements, tax returns, and investments.

Analyzes documents to help the court decide on child and spousal support payments, as well as how to divide community property. A forensic accountant analyzes documents to help the court decide on child and spousal support payments, as well as how to divide community property.

Whether appointed by the court, agreed upon by the parties, or hired for one of the parties (usually in bitterly contested cases), forensic psychologists work to resolve issues regarding child custody in the family courts.

A legal document assistant is a non-lawyer authorized to assist with the preparation of legal instruments. Unlike a paralegal, legal document assistants do not work under the supervision of an attorney.

The clients hire them to perform a specific task or represent them for only a limited process or issue of the matter instead of the entire legal matter. There is no standard unbundled process because lawyers perform many different tasks and clients have different needs. Some specific tasks that clients may hire lawyers to perform include (but are not limited to): evaluating the client’s analysis of a case, advising about legal rights and responsibilities, advising about court procedures, advising about other dispute resolution options, suggesting documents to be prepared, reviewing documents, drafting documents, conducting factual investigations, giving references to appropriate experts, performing legal research, evaluating settlement options, planning for negotiations, providing standby telephone assistance during negotiations, planning for court appearances, appearing in court for a limited purpose, and assisting with an appeal.

Mental health professionals have long been involved with divorcing families, but recent years have seen an increase of sophisticated service models, along with some controversy about them.

May assess the treatment of a child by the parents in question and present this information to the court with a report.

Has the legal responsibility to discover the market value set by activity in the real estate marketplace and to appraise property accordingly. The market value of your property is a prediction of the most probable selling price, based on actual sales of like properties in similar neighborhoods.

May become involved in a child custody dispute either as a treating psychiatrist for a child/parent or as an expert witness/custody evaluator. In distinguishing these two roles, it is important to first have an understanding of the types of witnesses in court.

Is a licensed professional who represents buyers or sellers in real estate transactions. A real estate agent usually works on commission, being paid a percentage of the property’s sale price.

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