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Collaborative Divorce Practice Groups -Unique Opportunities for Professionals

November 7, 2011

 

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Part 2 in an ongoing series by David Kuroda- COLLABORATIVE FAMILY LAW – THE LATEST THING IN DIVORCE ACCORDING TO THE MOVIE “JUNO” – Roy Disney and Robin Williams Chose Collaborative Divorce, Jamie and Frank McCourt Did Not

COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE – UNIQUE ROLES FOR MENTAL HEALTH AND FINANCIAL PROFESSIONALS – THE COACH – THE CHILD SPECIALIST

A key event in the emergence of Collaborative Divorce in Los Angeles was held in Dept. 2 on October, 2001. Judge Aviva Bobb hosted the program, co-sponsored by the South Bay and Los Angeles County Bar Associations. Over 100 attendees heard Pauline Tesler and Nancy Ross describe the newest way of getting divorced. Since that program, a number of groups have emerged to promote the use of collaborative divorce.

Mental health and financial professionals play important collaborative roles to help parents work out their dissolution. There are six groups in Los Angeles County, “A Better Divorce,” (abetterdivorce.com) a South Bay group of collaborative family law professionals; “The Coalition for Collaborative Divorce,”(nocourtdivorce.com) based in the San Fernando Valley, the “Los Angeles Collaborative Family Law Association” (LACFLA), (lacfla.com), based on the Westside, “Los Angeles Westside Collaborative Divorce Professionals” (LAWCDP), (lawcdp.org), “The Collaborative Practice Group of Pasadena,” (pasadenacollaborativedivorce.com), and “Alternatives: A Collaborative Team,” Long Beach, W. Orange County, and the Beach Cities (alternative-divorce.com).

In 2006, the inaugural statewide conference was held in Sonoma, and “Collaborative Practice – California” (CP-Cal) was established. In 2007, in Pasadena, the southern California conference was held at the Westin Hotel. CP-Cal, (cpcal.com) has been developing ways of expanding the practice of collaborative divorce by coordinating the efforts of the California groups. Past president, Kimberly Davidson and current president, Kathleen O’Connor have provided important leadership. The International Association of Collaborative Professionals (IACP) will hold its Annual IACP Forum in San Francisco, October 27-30, 2011. Collaborativepractice.com
For the very first time in 2008, Collaborative Divorce training was held locally by Los Angeles professionals. The two-day program for Collaborative Family Law Interdisciplinary Training was taught by members of LACFLA, Los Angeles Collaborative Family Law Association. Fred Glassman, president of LACFLA, was responsible for this exciting program. Most of the practitioners of collaborative divorce have been trained outside the state; many have traveled to Arizona and other states for the training. Trainers have been brought in from other states for the previous programs. Now there are enough experienced and qualified professionals in Los Angeles County, LACFLA sponsored the training with a faculty of local practitioners. The training was repeated again last year. The next training is scheduled for October 14-16, 2011. Completion of the training qualifies attendees for membership in LACLFA and IACP. See lacfla.org.

In an introductory session for the Los Angeles Collaborative Family Law Association several years ago, at a gathering of over 60 members of the family law community, a highly respected psychologist admitted she had almost decided not to perform any more child custody evaluations. Despite the income, it was just too hard. Recommending parenting plans, figuring out how much time children should be with their parents, choosing between two caring parents-these are difficult issues. Many child custody evaluators are providing their services outside of court as child specialist role in Collaborative Divorce.

Collaborative Divorce is an enhancement of the Collaborative Law model. In addition to attorneys, this model includes the participation of financial and mental health professionals. In cases involving children, a child specialist assists the parties in developing a parenting plan. Coaches help with the emotional aspects of a divorce, and the financial professional representing neither party, provides information about the financial aspects of the divorce.

Mr. Kuroda is the former Division Chief, Family Court Services, Superior Court of Los Angeles and directed the Mediation and Conciliation Service, the first and largest court mediation program in the nation. In his 18 years with the Superior Court.

In addition to directing the program, he has personally provided mediation services to over 8,000 families, and has made presentations on collaborative divorce, mediation and divorce to numerous groups of attorneys and mental health professionals. He is a member of A Better Divorce, LAWCDP, the LA Collaborative Family Law Association, and CDRC. He serves on the Family Law Executive Committee, LA County Bar Association. He was recognized by the National Association of Social Workers, NASW, California, with the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003; he was honored for his contributions to help establish Collaborative Divorce by Collaborative Practice California; in 2007 with the George Nickel Award, California Social Welfare Archives.

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