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. Attorneys along with mental health, and financial professionals have continued to formed collaborative practice groups. In 2010 there were six and now there are twelve groups in Los Angeles County:
A Better Divorce, abetterdivorce.com, a South Bay group
Affordable Divorce Solutions
Alliance for Family Centered Divorce
Alternatives – A Collaborative Divorce Team, alternative-divorce.com
Association of Collaborative Divorce Professionals
Los Angeles Collaborative Family Law Association (LACFLA), lacfla.com
Los Angeles Westside Collaborative Divorce Professionals (LAWCDP), lawcdp.org
Pasadena Affordable Divorce
Pasadena Collaborative Divorce, pasadenacollaborativedivorce.com
San Fernando Valley Collaborative Professionals
The Coalition for Collaborative Divorce, nocourtdivorce.com
A new group is forming in Marina del Rey
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 presidents, Kimberly Davidson and Kathleen O’Connor, have provided important leadership. The International Association of Collaborative Professionals (IACP) held its Annual IACP Forum in San Francisco, October 27-30, 2011. Collaborativepractice.com. The most recent CP-Cal conference was held last month at the Claremont Hotel. Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye was one of the speakers. The next Southern California Collaborative Practice California conference is held at the Manhattan Beach Marriott Hotel, April 26-28, 2013, this weekend.
In 2008, for the very first time, Collaborative Divorce training was held in Los Angeles by professionals from Southern California. 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 had 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 early 2014. Completion of the training qualifies attendees for membership in LACLFA and IACP. Visitlacfla.org.
LACFLA will be working with the Loyola Law School and will be providing a class in Collaborative Practice later this year. It will be one of the first law schools that will be providing instruction in this innovative way of getting divorced.
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.
Learn more about Collaborative Divorce
David 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, he was responsible for the district courts, the PACT and Contemnors’ Programs, Divorce Seminars, and Visitation Monitors. Under his leadership, the service set high standards for the mediation service and other innovative programs serving children and families of divorce.
He has served on numerous committees with the Judicial Council, Los Angeles County Bar Executive Committee, Family Law Section, and has collaborated on numerous programs with the bar associations of the South Bay, Beverly Hills, San Fernando Valley, and Long Beach. He’s the past vice-president of A Better Divorce: A group of collaborative professionals; he also serves as vice-president of the California Social Welfare Archives., on he advisory board of the Los Angeles Collaborative Family Law Association, and was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) California Chapter and with the George Nickel Award by the California Social Welfare Archives, USC.
In addition to directing the program, he has personally provided mediation services to over 7,000 families from the working poor to the wealthy and famous, including high profile cases and movie producers. Virtually all parents, whatever their backgrounds, love their children, and with some guidance, have been able to work together, even after divorce. Mr. Kuroda has provided training for graduate students from USC, and has taught professionals child custody mediation.