There are a lot of great books out there on collaborative divorce. Some, like Forrest S. Mosten’s Collaborative Divorce Handbook: Helping Families without Going to Court and Pauline Tesler’s Collaborative Law: Achieving Effective Resolution in Divorce without Litigation, are geared towards divorce professionals. Others, like Stu Webb and Ron Ousky’s The Collaborative Way to Divorce: The Revolutionary Method That Results in Less Stress, Lower Costs, and Happier Kids – Without Going to Court and Joryn Jenkin’s War or Peace: Avoid the Destruction of Divorce, are geared towards families considering divorce.
A new offering is helpful for both professionals and families. Enter Dr. Jeremy S. Gaies’ A Clear and Easy Guide to Collaborative Divorce.
Dr. Gaies is a psychologist and collaborative facilitator/coach in Tampa, Florida. Full disclosure: He also teaches attorneys, mental health professionals, financial professionals, and mediators how to offer families collaborative services through the Tampa Bay Collaborative Trainers, a group in which I am also a trainer.
Dr. Gaies’ book is a refreshing look at collaborative practice geared towards the busy professional or spouse. The author organizes the book, which is less than 100 pages cover-to-cover, in a “Frequently Asked Questions” or “FAQ” format. Questions are clearly listed in the table of contents, appear at the top of the page, and are answered in one page or less.
Dr. Gaies’ chapters answer questions that nearly every spouse considering collaborative divorce or new collaborative professional asks, such as:
- What’s Wrong with Traditional Divorce?
- What is a Collaborative Divorce?
- Are There Downsides?
- Which Model is Right for Us?
- Why Use an Interdisciplinary Team?
- Why is My Lawyer Acting So Nice to My Spouse?
- Can’t We Just Negotiate on Our Own?
- How Long Does a Collaborative Divorce Take?
- What Can We Do to Keep it Affordable?
- What is the Success Rate?
Excerpt on “What Is a Team Meeting?”
The answers that Dr. Gaies provides are pithy and get right to the point. They also allow for a starting point so that professionals and families can do more research on the collaborative process. Below is an excerpt:
What Is a Team Meeting?
A team meeting is a meeting in which all of the collaborative participants gather together. This includes you, your spouse, and all of the core professional team members. If a collaborative assistant has been selected, that professional is also in attendance.
Prior to the start of each team meeting, the professional conduct a 15-30 minute pre-brief. This preliminary conversation brings them up to speed on recent events and sets out a clear plan for how to handle that particular meeting.
When you and your spouse arrive, the actual team meeting begins. An agenda is used to guide the discussion and to provide structure throughout the meeting. The team helps you identify two things: 1) what you each truly need, and 2) what resources you have to meet those needs. The group then works together to solve the puzzle of how to effectively meet those needs with the available resources. Everyone literally has a seat at the table and everyone plays a role in finding a logical and workable solution.
Team meetings are the foundation of the collaborative approach. It is where information is shared, options are generated, and final closure is reached. The centrality of the team meetings cannot be overemphasized. Because of their importance, it is essential that all members arrived prepared to work hard and smart.
Just after you depart at the end of the meeting, the professionals remain for a short debrief meeting to review the outcome of the team meeting and to prepare for the next steps in the process.
Where to Get A Clear and Easy Guide to Collaborative Divorce
For those families considering collaborative divorce, this book will be an invaluable guide to answer your questions. For newly-trained collaborative professionals or those considering going to a training, this book will allow you to quickly dive into the topic and be responsive to clients requesting a more peaceful, private way to resolve disputes.
A Clear and Easy Guide to Collaborative Divorce can be ordered on Amazon by clicking on this link (by the way, we receive no monetary compensation from the link). You can find the book currently listed on Amazon at $12.95.
Further, for professionals looking to bulk order the book at a discount to hand out to clients considering or going through the collaborative process, you can contact Dr. Gaies directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.