Two Homes One Family

Child Custody Arrangements with Collaborative DivorceTwo Homes One Family is a unique program jointly offered by CPM (the Collaborative Project of Maryland) and the Jewish Social Service Agency (JSSA) that provides the Collaborative Divorce Process to qualifying families in Montgomery County, Maryland at an affordable cost.  In the Collaborative Divorce Process, participants focus their efforts on reaching a mutually-acceptable resolution outside of court.  The parties work with a team of professionals, including attorneys, financial specialists and mental health professionals, who provide the support, information and guidance the family needs to make informed decisions about their future.

Two Homes One Family is a two-step process:

STEP 1: Participants meet with a Two Homes One Family Project Director, who will help determine the current strengths and needs of the family.  If the assessment shows that a family member has pressing emotional needs that JSSA can provide assistance with, the Project Director will help the family access those services immediately.  We call this work “Collaborative Prep Work.”  By addressing a family’s emotional needs up front, we believe the Collaborative Process that follows will be easier for the family.

STEP 2:  The family meets with their team of collaboratively-trained professionals (typically, two attorneys, a coach, and a financial professional) to reach a mutually-acceptable, durable divorce or child custody agreement that works for the whole family.

More About the Collaborative Process

The Collaborative Process is a team-based approach based on a set of principles that can significantly change the dynamic between the clients by engaging them outside of the courtroom in an open, supportive, lower-conflict process to find shared solutions.  A central tenet of the process is a promise to reach a resolution without court intervention or threat of court intervention.

The parties work with their team of professionals to avoid the uncertain outcomes of Court litigation and to achieve an agreement that best meets the specific needs of both parties as well as their family as a whole.  The team also helps the parties learn new skills for more effective communication, conflict resolution and post-divorce co-parenting, so that they experience divorce as a transition rather than a trauma.


What families qualify for Two Homes One Family?

One of the goals of Two Homes One Family is to make the Collaborative Process available to families that might otherwise not be able to afford this process as an option for their divorce or resolving their child custody disagreements.  For this reason, we’re offering the program to families of moderate means.  The decision as to whether a family qualifies for the program will be made on a case-by-case basis.  In addition to income and household size, we will also consider families’ assets and debts.

Why is there an assessment?

The assessment is one of the unique features of Two Homes One Family.  While the Collaborative Process offers a less conflictual way for a couple to reach an agreement, making decisions about such important issues as parenting and finances can sometimes be difficult for participants.  Sometimes, the emotions of one or both participants run so high that the meetings are not as productive as they could be.  Or, in some instances, emotions even become so intense that the discussions break down and the case cannot be resolved using the Collaborative Process.  The assessment will let us know whether one or both of the parties (as well as the children, if appropriate) could benefit from some short-term therapy prior to engaging in these decision-making discussions.  If so, Two Homes One Family will coordinate the family member’s access to a JSSA clinician.   We call this work with the JSSA therapist “Collaborative Prep Work.”

What does the assessment entail?

The assessment involves three meetings with a Two Homes One Family Project Director: individual meetings with each participant, followed by a joint meeting with both participants.  The assessment is really just a conversation between the Project Director and the participants, with the Project Director looking at how well the participants are managing through this transition.

Can you tell me more about Collaborative Prep Work?

Collaborative Prep Work will be short-term in nature, generally between three and eight sessions.  Unlike traditional therapy which might explore longstanding issues, the goal of Collaborative Prep Work is to help the individual or individuals get to a place where they are ready to begin the Collaborative Process.

Depending upon what the assessment indicates, Collaborative Prep Work may be individual sessions to help one or both participants work through some issue.  Or it could be couples work, helping the participants, for example, develop some new skills to more effectively communicate with one another.  The Collaborative Prep Work is billable to insurance.

Can you tell me more about the Collaborative Team?

Typically, the Collaborative Team comprises four professionals: two attorneys (one for each participant), a coach, and a financial specialist.

Role of the Attorney: Each participant has a Collaborative attorney, who is an attorney with specialized training in the Collaborative Process.  Attorneys in the Collaborative Process are trained to advocate collaboratively, which means representing the individual client while also maintaining the goals of the Collaborative Process.  The attorneys join the clients and the other professionals in pledging not to go to court and not to threaten to go to court in order to gain advantage in the settlement process.

Role of the Coach: A coach is a licensed mental health professional with specialized training in the Collaborative Process.  The coach has experience in family dynamics, communication skills and mediation that enables them to help both members of the divorcing couple manage the emotional and psychological challenges of the divorce.

Role of the Financial Specialist: A financial specialist is a financial planner or accountant with specialized training in the Collaborative Process.  The financial specialist helps the team members and the clients understand the financial aspects of the divorce, as well as assists clients in developing financial options as they make the transition to two households.

Other Professionals: While most cases will have only the above professionals, it is possible a case may benefit from other professionals such as a child specialist, appraisers or valuation experts, who can assist with specific tasks that require their unique expertise.

How much does Two Homes One Family cost?

Two Homes One Family is able to offer the Collaborative Process for an affordable price because the professionals working on Two Homes One Family teams have agreed to charge less than their usual rates, and the Two Homes One Family process is stream-lined and efficient.

Once a family is accepted into the program, we will provide them with an estimated cost, based upon the number of hours we expect for each professional.  A portion of this estimate will be an administrative fee. This estimated price ranges between $10,000 and $12,600.

How do I get started?

Call 301-267-5701 or complete the Contact Form below.

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