The Center for Out-of-Court Divorce provides comprehensive support to separating and divorcing parents and their children. What this means is that we guide and support you and each member of your family through the complex emotional and relationship issues associated with divorce or separation as well as through every step of the legal process, from initially filing for divorce to the final hearing.
COCD services are delivered by an expert team of licensed mental health clinicians and attorney mediators in an integrated and coordinated manner, all under one roof. We help ease stress during a difficult transition by enabling you to complete the divorce process outside of the traditional courtroom setting.
How do our services differ from those offered by an individual divorce attorney, counselor or mediator?
One of the biggest differences between seeking separate service providers for your case is our customized integration of services. Each COCD family is assigned a case manager who acts as your navigator from start to finish, and gets to know your family and each family member’s individual needs and concerns. Your case manager helps assemble a team that counsels your family through the difficult areas, and helps you develop a comprehensive agreement that details a realistic and workable plan for co-parenting and addresses all of the financial issues associated with your dissolution case as well.
Why are services offered as a bundle, and at a flat fee?
This is a difficult and stressful time for families. When clients meet with us for their initial interviews, we encourage them to look at this as an emotional process of informed decision making that will set the stage for the very significant transition ahead. With a bundle of services, families can take the time and engage the resources and services they need to move forward with a future-focused plan. The flat fee allows families to plan for the cost of their case and not worry about hourly fees stacking up.
What services will I receive, exactly?
Our separation and divorce support services are customized for your family. Rather than charging fees for each individual service, we provide them as a package so that families can use any of services needed to help them through the process. Here is a list of services that may be included if you choose to work with COCD:
- Supportive Counseling. COCD offers individual adult and child counseling, family counseling, and support groups. Are you unsure of how to approach telling the kids? Is your child struggling with the separation? Do you need help coping during this difficult time? Our counseling team will customize its support for your family and tailor it to your needs.
- Mediation and drafting of legal agreements. Our divorce mediation support is comprehensive and gives couples the time and individualized attention required to help resolve each issue and concern. When couples come to COCD, our goal is to help them come to agreement on financial and co-parenting plans which address immediate transition issues as well as the long term considerations required as their children grow and mature. Once couples arrive at these agreements our attorney mediator memorializes them in a detailed memorandum of understanding that is submitted to the court at the time of the final divorce hearing which is conducted at COCD.
- Co-parenting planning and preparation. COCD provides the skill building and coaching required by parents to create and maintain a successful co-parenting relationship. This includes the practical tools and tips for decision making on important issues concerning the children; guidance on how to manage the transition from one household to two (including family calendars and detailed plans for sharing holidays); as well as suggestions on how to adjust and adapt over time as individual and family circumstances change.
- Legal education and court case management. The court required documents and paperwork process can be daunting and overwhelming. COCD provides education and information about all the details and helps parents navigate the entire legal process. After the initial filing of a petition for divorce, COCD manages all subsequent filings and ensures compliance with court requirements and deadlines.
- Support groups. There are many benefits to getting support from those who share your experience. COCD offers this benefit within its package of services. Support groups are available for women, men and for children (organized by age). Some families may not wish to participate in a support group initially, but are relieved to know that they can change their mind and sign up to participate at a later date.
- Your Final Hearing in the Comfort and Privacy of the Center. The final orders hearing at COCD is presided over by a judge, in a more supportive and private atmosphere than a public courtroom. As a result of COCD’s mediation process, clients come to their final orders hearings with a detailed plan for moving forward, and eliminate the risk of a contested final orders hearing. The familiar faces of the COCD team see clients through to their final hearing. Clients report that completing their divorce in this more relaxed setting helped alleviate stress and provide the closure necessary for their family to move forward successfully in its new configuration.
What if I just want mediation?
Divorcing parents sometimes come to us because they need to complete court-mandated mediation. As a result, we are sometimes asked, “can I just do the mediation piece?” Mediation is a great place to start, but we encourage families to consider the benefits of our comprehensive approach of integrated services delivered by an expert team of mental health clinicians and attorney mediators. COCD is the affordable and highly effective alternative for families in transition.
Do you have more questions? We’re here to help. Contact us to learn more about our separation and divorce services.
By COCD Attorney-Mediator Ellen Squires and COCD Clinical Director Denise Breinig-Glunz