Well no, I guess that’s not completely true. I have a collection of short stories entitled ‘Conversations’ (to be published posthumously – with the profits going to every starving, rescued, needing to be neutered animal large or small out there on FB). So, (and I understand beginning a sentence with SO has become acceptable grammar, right AEF?) I’m ready to share my observations about relationships. Names have been changed omitted or forgotten. Resources are now a vague memory, because I’m sure this stuff has been said before (thank you Mr. Rogers), but the context often escapes me or gets confused with actual life experiences of mine. So briefly:
By far, the most relevant relationship is the one we nurture and abuse with ourselves. In a planet too close to its demise for daily comfort, we humans think of ourselves as somehow special, entitled, smarter than the rest – you get my drift. Since none of us gets out of here alive (and it is a true observation of mine that in a large crowd, I take solace in knowing that all these people will be dead one day when I think I will be too) and, what I’m really embarrassed to share is this – when I realize that important people die too, I feel a surge of confidence in my ability to do it without a big deal. Anybody else out there thinking this way? Maybe not.
So here’s the point. Take care of yourselves while you are here, it’s a time limited journey and even if you do (believe in) reincarnate the chances are slim to none you’ll remember any of what you have learned this time around – it gets too confusing and all you get are glimpses anyway.
In my Second Blog, I’ll talk more about how I think we should do that Yoda, Mr. Yamaguchi, Pema Chodron and Wayne Dyer thing.
Collaborative Divorce Agreement
Licensed Mental Health Professional
(Coach or Child Specialist)
You have agreed to enlist my participation on your Collaborative Team as your
___________. As part of this process, you have been given information about my
background, experience, and qualifications.
This document contains important information about my professional services and
business policies. By signing this agreement you give me permission to provide
__________________ services to you. Please read this information carefully and note
any questions so we can discuss them.
THE ROLE OF COLLABORATIVE
MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL
- The Collaborative Divorce Coach
Divorce Coaches are licensed mental health professionals. In individual and joint
meetings (with or without attorneys present) the Coaches work with the parties to:
Identify and prioritize the concerns of each person
Make effective use of conflict resolution and communication skills
Develop effective co-parenting skills
Work collaboratively with the couple, their attorneys, and other involved
professionals to improve communication, reduce misunderstandings, aid
in resolving disputes
- Child Specialist
Collaborative Divorce Child Specialist will work with the children and the parents to:
Provide the child/ren with an opportunity to voice his/her/their concerns
regarding the divorce
Provide the parents with information and guidance to help their child/ren
through this process
Give information to the Collaborative team that will help the parties in
developing an effective co-parenting plan for their children
THE COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE COACHING PROCESS:
Collaborative Divorce Coaching involves a joint effort between client/s and coach.
Progress and success in the Collaborative divorce process can depend upon many factors,
including your motivation, effort, availability for meetings, the level of conflict between
you and your spouse/partner/co-parent, the complexity of your family situation, and
outside circumstances (such as the potential impact of interactions with family, friends
Collaborative does not mean easy. You are facing important personal decisions during a
time of likely emotional turmoil, and your final agreement will be shaped by both parties
in a way that will be unique to your family’s circumstances. This requires flexibility by
both parties so that a fair and mutually equitable agreement can be achieved.
While a successful outcome cannot be guaranteed, your commitment to the process is
essential for a positive and collaborative outcome.
MY PROFESSIONAL COMMITMENT
During the initial consultation period, you and I will jointly determine if I am an
appropriate Collaborative Coach or Child Specialist to work with you. If not, I will refer
you to other mental health professional. If at any time while we are working together I
determine that you would benefit from collateral work with other professionals outside of
Collaborative team, I will discuss this with you and the team. If needed, I will provide
you with the names of appropriate professionals. Examples of such referrals would
include psychotherapists, physicians, and learning specialists.
As a part of the consultation period, we will discuss how I work in the Collaborative
process. If at any time during the process you have any questions about the services being
provided, please ask for clarification.
Although I check my email often, I may not be available for immediate emergencies or
for after-hour or weekend contact. If you require this kind of professional support, please
let me know and I will refer you to other mental health professionals who offer this
If a situation should arise in which you believe that immediate help is needed and I am
not available, I suggest you call your primary care physician or any hospital emergency
room. You can also call 911.
CLIENT CONFIDENTIALITY AND CLIENT SAFETY
The parties and all professional members of the Collaborative team agree that all notes,
work papers, summaries, written or oral opinions, and written or oral reports (collectively
referred to as the work product) shall be confidential within the process and shall not be
released to any person or entity outside of the collaborative process. This confidentiality
does not prohibit the furnishing, upon request, of such work product to a collaborative
professional involved, by your agreement, in this process.
Should any party or team member elect to terminate or withdraw from the Collaborative
Divorce Process, all materials, including all content (both written and oral) of all
Collaborative Team meetings and communication with/between any member of the
Collaborative Divorce Team or the parties may not be used in any court proceedings.
While the role of coach/child specialist is different from the role of psychotherapist, I am
in practice as a licensed clinical social worker. The confidentiality of communications
between my clients and me as a Collaborative practitioner is important and is protected
by the laws and ethical standards governing the practice of social work. With the
following exceptions, information given in the Collaborative Process will not be shared
with anyone outside of the Collaborative Team and the parties. Please note that these are
standard HIPAA (federal privacy statute) exceptions to confidentiality, and not specific to
the collaborative process:
Exceptions to client confidentiality:
1.) If a client communicates directly to me a threat of physical harm to an identifiable
person, or damage to an identifiable person’s property, I am required by law to
warn the intended victim and notify the police.
2.) If I believe that a client is in a mental or emotional condition where he/she poses a
danger to him/herself or others, I may breach confidentiality or contact others to
facilitate the client’s safety.
3.) If I have a reasonable suspicion that a client may be unable to care for
him/herself, or may be unable to provide for his/her basic personal needs for
clothing and shelter, I may breach confidentiality to facilitate the client’s safety.
4.) If, in my professional capacity, I have a reasonable suspicion of child abuse or
neglect, or abuse of dependent, disabled or elder adult (age 65 or older), I am
required by law to file a report with the designated protective agencies.
If the use of collection agency becomes necessary, I will furnish them with the require
information to collect the fees due.
The Divorce Coach/Child Specialist may communicate with the parties and the
collaborative professionals including, but not limited to, communicating with each party
individually or together, a party with his or her collaborative lawyer present, each
collaborative lawyer individually or together, any lawyer consulted for an opinion during
the collaborative law process, and any other professionals retained by the parties who
have signed a participation agreement in this matter.
The parties hereby authorize and release the Collaborative Divorce Coach/Child
Specialist and the collaborative lawyers to share any information, opinions and/or
communications regarding this matter with any of the participants, specifically with each
other, individually or collectively; with any lawyers consulted for an opinion during the
collaborative law process; with any other professionals who have signed a participation
agreement in this matter; and /or with the parties, together or individually. The parties
understand and agree that the Collaborative Divorce Coach/Child Specialist, at her
discretion, may reveal to one party what has been communicated by the other. However,
if you share information with the Collaborative Divorce Coach which you specifically
wish to keep confidential (i.e., not to share with the other party), please apprise your
Divorce Coach/Child Specialist of that fact so that the issue can be discussed and an
agreeable resolution reached. For example, if said information is not germane to the
Collaborative Divorce Process, it may be eligible to be kept confidential.
In order to more effectively provide service, it may be important for me to communicate
with any previous or concurrently treating professionals. To this end I may ask you to
sign a confidentiality waiver form allowing such communication. By signing this
document you are agreeing to promptly provide me with all necessary and reasonable
information I may request, and to sign all authorizations I may deem necessary toward
that end. You are, of course, free to review such authorizations with your counsel prior
MEETINGS WITHOUT COLLABORATIVE LAWYERS
It is contemplated that the Collaborative Divorce Coach/Child Specialist may meet with
the parties without the collaborative lawyers present. The Coach/Child Specialist shall
promptly update the lawyers or other team members on any such meetings. The
Coach/Child Specialist may communicate such preliminary understandings in writing or
orally, but shall not draft any final agreements. The Coach/Child Specialist will be paid
for the time it takes to prepare such correspondences and engage in such
communications. The parties will not be asked to memorialize such understandings. The
parties will not sign any binding agreement without both lawyers’ review.
My Collaborative Divorce Coaching fee is $ per 60-minute session. My fee for attending
meetings with attorneys present (5-ways, or 6-ways) is $ per hour. My fee for case
management, which includes email review, email preparation, report writing, document
review, phone calls with attorneys, oter therapists, teachers, or with clients themselves is
$ per hour (billed in a minimum of 5 minute increments).
I ask that clients pay a $ retainer As the retainer is depleted, we will will discuss
whether to proceed with another advance payment for services or switch to a “pay as you
go” policy. A 3% surcharge will be added to credit card payments.
Cancellation Policy: I ask for 48 business hours notice (9am-5pm, M-F) to cancel or
postpone an appointment in order to avoid a full fee charged for that meeting. When an
appointment is scheduled for two parties to meet with me together, and one party cancels
with less than 48 hours notice, that party is the client who is asked to pay the fee for the
ELECTION TO TERMINATE
If either party decides that the Collaborative Divorce Process is no longer viable and
elects to terminate the status of the case as a Collaborative Law matter, he/she agrees to,
in writing, immediately inform the other party, their respective coaches, and attorneys.
Please refer to your collaborative participation agreement.
The Collaborative Divorce Team also reserves the right to withdraw from the case if
either or both parties engage in conduct that is contrary to the Collaborative Divorce
In the event of termination, all incurred fees are immediately due and payable.
In the event of termination, appropriate referrals will be offered to facilitate the client’s
transition out of the Collaborative Divorce Process.
While the Collaborative Divorce Process is not a guarantee of success and cannot
eliminate past disharmony and irreconcilable differences, it offers a positive method
toward a more healthy and cooperative solution to marital dissolution. For couples with
children, it assists them towards a positive and healthy co-parenting relationship.
I HAVE READ THE ABOVE STATEMENT IN ITS ENTIRETY, UNDERSTAND
THE CONTENT, AND AGREE TO ITS TERMS.
CLIENTS NAME (PLEASE PRINT)