What Is the Role of a Child Specialist in a Collaborative Divorce?

For many parents, their biggest fear about filing for divorce is how it will affect their kids. While divorce doesn’t have to be – and usually isn’t – traumatic, it is still a big change for most kids. For this reason, most parents want to minimize any negative impacts of divorce on their kids.

During a collaborative divorce, a child specialist can serve as a neutral third party whose role is to advocate for your kids. Their role is not to take sides, but to represent the best interests of the kids. Using a child specialist – and having a collaborative divorce – can help to reduce the potential of your divorce negatively impacting your children in a significant way.


At Manassa Law, we are firm believers in collaborative divorce and other methods of alternative dispute resolution. As collaborative divorce lawyers, we help our clients achieve their goals while reducing the stress and expense of a traditional divorce. If you are considering divorce in the Barrington, Illinois area, reach out today to schedule a free consultation.

The Purpose of Child Specialists in a Collaborative Divorce

A child specialist is a licensed mental health professional who may be utilized during an Illinois collaborative divorce. This individual will have expertise in child development and family systems. They serve as a neutral party during a collaborative divorce, with a focus on your children’s needs.

Child specialists are only used in collaborative divorces. While other types of divorces may involve mental health professionals, a child specialist plays a unique role in the collaborative divorce process. 

A collaborative divorce involves both parties coming together to figure out a solution that works for everyone. A child specialist helps both spouses stay focused on what is best for their children. The goal of using a child specialist is to minimize the impact of the divorce on your children.

At the start of the proceedings, your child specialist will meet with you, your soon-to-be-ex, and your children (when appropriate). They do this to get a better understanding of your family dynamics, your concerns as parents, and how your kids are adjusting to their new reality. They will also work with each parent to come up with an optimal parenting schedule that meets both your needs and the kids’ needs as much as possible.

It is important to remember that a child specialist is truly neutral in this process. They are not there to choose one side or the other. Instead, their role aligns with the purpose of collaborative divorce: to help everyone work together to minimize conflict and reach an agreement.

What Can a Child Specialist Do?

Beyond helping parents reach an agreement on parenting time, a child specialist can take on a number of other tasks. This may include:

  • Developing strategies to minimize conflict and enhance communication;
  • Educating both parents on the potential impact of the divorce on their kids, and discussing how they can mitigate any negative effects;
  • Working with parents to develop strategies for helping children adjust to other big changes, such as a move or new romantic interests;
  • Meeting with your children to understand their feelings about the divorce;
  • Helping both parents to recognize how the kids are adjusting to these changes;
  • Working with parents as their relationship changes from marriage to co-parenting; and
  • Consulting with other professionals when necessary to ensure the smoothest possible transition for your kids.

A child specialist offers many benefits to parents who have decided to go through the collaborative divorce process. They can offer education, insight, and expertise that may make the adjustment easier for your kids. They can also help to keep discussions on track and focused on what is truly important: the well-being of your children.

Considering Collaborative Divorce? Reach Out Today.

Collaborative divorce isn’t the right choice for every couple. But if you and your spouse are able to communicate well and want to try to get divorced in a more amicable way, then a collaborative divorce might be a good option. If you have kids, then you may also benefit from the introduction of a child specialist.


At Manassa Law, we understand that every family is different – and that no two divorces are alike. We are committed to helping our clients achieve their goals in whatever way meets their needs, whether that be a collaborative divorce, mediation, or even going to trial if necessary. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation with a Barrington, IL divorce lawyer, give our law office a call at 866-418-7440 or fill out our online contact form.

Larry Manassa