How to Get Started

So -- you are considering a separation or divorce, or have another situation to resolve, and you need to know what to do next.

1 Consider Why the Collaborative Model May Be the Best for You.

You can set up a consultation with an Attorney to review the different legal models that are used in separation or divorce (such as litigation, mediation and Collaborative). Or, you can consult first with a Mental Health Professional if you would like to talk through initial steps that might address your family or child-oriented concerns. If you feel more comfortable talking first to a Financial Expert, you can also choose to consult with a Collaboratively trained Financial Expert or Financial Neutral to learn more about how your financial decisions might be addressed through each of the different legal models. You will benefit from talking through the different model options before settling on a final decision about which model is best for you and your family.

If you have already researched your options and have decided to use the Collaborative Practice model, you can proceed directly with setting up an appointment with a professional on our membership list to discuss initiating the process.

2 Find a Professional.

Review our list of professional members, and choose a professional who meets your needs in terms of location, experience, or biographical details. Again, you can choose to set up your first appointment with any professional in order to discuss moving ahead with the Collaborative Practice model. Simply call the professional of your choice (or speak to a few on the phone to narrow your choice) and ask to set up an appointment. You will speak briefly with that person by phone to review basic background information regarding your situation and what you are looking for, and then you may schedule an appointment date that will work for you both.

3 Learn More about the Process.

Once you have chosen a professional to speak with, you will have the opportunity to hear more about Collaborative Practice (as well as other models).  You will learn about how a Collaborative Team is assembled with your input. You will have the chance to discuss how to convey this information to your spouse or partner who may or may not have agreed thus far to using the Collaborative approach. Our professionals are experienced in helping clients explain the Collaborative model to others, including partners, friends and families. We can help you offer information via websites, books, and pamphlets to help your spouse or partner explore the Collaborative approach, and/or we can specifically recommend some of our colleagues who might be best suited to the needs of your family so that your spouse or partner will have a list of Collaboratively trained professionals he or she might call to set up his/her own consultation appointment.

For more information, view our Collaborative Practice Kit, which describes the benefits of the Collaborative Process.

4 Build a team to work with.

If you both decide to move ahead with Collaborative Professionals, each of you will retain the professionals you want to work with on your Team - with guidance and input from the person you consulted with initially. You will have options in terms of which professionals to retain considering your family’s needs and challenges, your location, your scheduling availability, and your own personal preferences about the people with whom you want to work. Your Collaborative Team of professionals will provide you the support, the expertise and the guidance you will need to move through your situation in a respectful manner that fosters trust, cooperation, and healthy outcomes for all members of the family - including your children if any.

Feel free to contact any of the professional members of CPNV to talk more about how to get started and to ask any questions you may have about this process. We are dedicated to providing the best quality services we can, and we thank you for considering the Collaborative Professionals of Northern Virginia to find Attorneys, Mental Health Professionals, and Financial Experts you can trust.