The Institute for Family Conflict Resolution (IFCR) will be offering two Collaborative Divorce trainings in Nashville, TN this spring.  Nashville is centrally located in the United States and offers a wide variety of activities and entertainment options for training participants.

April 19-20, 2018 – Introductory Interdisciplinary Collaborative Divorce Training

This fast-paced and interesting two day training provides the foundation for family law attorneys, mental health professionals, and financial professionals to learn the philosophy and skills necessary to add Collaborative Divorce to their professional practices.

Upcoming Introductory Collaborative Divorce Training

The Institute for Family Conflict Resolution (IFCR) is offering a 2-day training program August 24-25, 2017 in Bowling Green, KY.

Collaborative Divorce is a problem-solving, client focused approach to divorce that works to meet clients’ legal, emotional, and financial needs as they divorce. This interactive, high energy training is designed for family law attorneys, mental health practitioners, and financial professionals who want to learn to use Collaborative Divorce to help families divorce in a respectful and constructive way, avoiding much of the stress and animosity typical of traditional divorce litigation.  The training meets the requirements of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP) for an introductory Collaborative Divorce training.

A program on Advanced Topics in Collaborative Divorce will be available from Interdisciplinary Collaborative Divorce Trainers March 11, 2017 in Knoxville, TN.  This interactive, high energy training is designed for family law attorneys, mental health practitioners and financial professionals who want to learn to expand their knowledge of the Collaborative Divorce process.

The session will explore a number of more advanced issues that come up in Collaborative Divorce work, including topics such as effective legal advocacy within a collaborative frame, how collaborative professionals can avoid over and under functioning in their roles in cases, and tools for dealing with impasse.  The training will be most meaningful for participants who has completed an introductory collaborative divorce training and have worked at least three cases.

More information and registration are available at

Many of the previous posts on this blog have been about how the Collaborative Divorce process and the reasons why collaborative professionals do what they do in cases to support divorcing clients.  This post comes at the topic more from the “60,000 foot view” of how to balance the concepts of structure and flexibility in the collaborative process.

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Currently, Tennessee does not have any particular certification for people who wish to hold themselves out to the public as Collaborative Divorce practitioners.  If a Nashville attorney, financial, or mental health professional wishes to grow his or her practice, he or she is free to list Collaborative Divorce as a service on his or her website regardless of whether the professional has even the most basic training in the process and how it works.

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As has been discussed many times on this blog, my bias is that in Nashville, and probably in Tennessee in general, we have flipped the exception and the rule in terms of divorce process options.  Currently, the default process is litigation and the exception is Collaborative Divorce.  Since I believe most people going through a divorce are in crisis and need support and guidance, but do not necessarily hate each other, Collaborative Divorce could be the default and litigation could be reserved for clients who do not have the capacity to make decisions on their own, have mental health issues, or other factors that would make Collaborative Divorce not a good choice.  For more discussion about when Collaborative Divorce is probably not appropriate see this prior post.

In any event, the important thing is that clients are informed of their options and make a decision for themselves about which process they think will work best for them and their family.  Here is a short summary of the differences between Collaborative Divorce and divorce litigation as they are typically practiced in Middle Tennessee:

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Co-Mediation is a variation on the typical Mediation process.  In a garden variety divorce mediation in Tennessee, one neutral mediator, typically a lawyer, works with a divorcing couple (and their attorneys if they have them) to try and craft a settlement, which includes a Marital Dissolution Agreement and Permanent Parenting Plan if the parties have children together.  Co-Mediation, like Collaborative Divorce, is a process that assumes that divorce is a life event that includes legal, financial, and emotional elements, all of which need to be addressed one way or the other.  As such, co-mediation includes a lawyer/ mediator to work with the clients on the legal issues and draft the settlement documents, but it also includes one or more additional mediators to work with the parties on the emotional issues in the divorce, and/or to guide the clients around more complicated financial issues in the divorce.

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Previous posts have looked at the ways Mental Health Coaches struggle in Collaborative Divorce cases as well as the ways in which Financial Neutrals can unintentionally get in the way of solid divorce settlement agreements.  This post will look more closely at the ways in which Collaborative Divorce lawyers can end up being part of the problem.

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