What is the North Georgia Collaborative Law Network

NGCL is an interdisciplinary network of legal, financial, and mental health professionals who assist clients in achieving resolution of disputes such as divorce using Collaborative Law processes rather than litigation
What is Collaborative Law
Collaborative Law is an out of court legal process used to resolve personal and business disputes.  While its use in business disputes is growing, it is used in most often for family law and divorce issues, as well as modification of prior Orders involving property settlement, child support, and child custody.  A team attorneys, mental health specialists and financial advisors works together with the parties for, a typically speedier and more amicable resolution than a case tried in court, usually at a lower cost.  Contact one of these collaborative specialists for more information or visit the links to learn more about this process.

Collaborative attorneys guide their clients in finding non-adversarial solutions to legal issues involved in disputes.  They advise clients of the law that applies to their circumstances and utilize a network of professionals to provide expertise and guidance on issues that are not legal but are relevant to the ultimate settlement of the case. Collaborative attorneys are specially trained in resolving issues that so often impede the resolution process in litigation.
Respectful and honest communication
Everyone commits to communicating respectfully and constructively by way of a formal contract signed by all parties and attorneys. The attorneys pledge not to take the case to court.
Four-way meetings
Attorneys initiate four-way meetings between themselves and their clients. If the case warrants, other professionals such as mental health professionals and financial experts are brought into the process to address other issues that need to be resolved.
Control over process
The atmosphere of cooperation creates a positive context for settlement while giving the clients control over the process and the outcome. This increases the likelihood of a solution where everyone wins including the children.
The clients control the speed at which they resolve their dispute, not a court with a large caseload and no existing knowledge of the parties or their situations.
The following are all attorneys trained in the collaborative law process and part of the North Georgia Collaborative Law network:
Kathryn N. Hedden Debra Paris
418 Pirkle Ferry Road
418 Pirkle Ferry Road
Suite 111 Suite 111
Cumming, GA 30040 Cumming, GA 30040
(770) 330-1349 (678) 513-7070
knhedden@gmail.com d_paris@bellsouth.com
http://www.heddenlaw.com http;//www.debraparislaw.com
Clyde Y. Morris Susan J. McCarthy
Main Office
327 Dahlonega Street, Ste 804
2375 Whippoorwill Lane Cumming, GA 30040
Gainesville, GA 30501 (770) 888-9111

2475 Northwinds Parkway www.sjmlawfirm.com
Suite 200
Alpharetta, GA 30009
(404) 403-4625

The Role of the Mental Health Professional
Collaborative Divorce…
  • provides the benefits of attorney representation to maximize settlement options but at lower costs and in less time than litigation.
  • minimizes or eliminates the negative economic, social and emotional consequences of having a judge or jury decide the issues.
  • empowers clients to maintain control of the proceedings.
  • utilizes the skills of financial consultants, child specialists, divorce coaches and mediators.
  • avoids the negative effects of litigation.
  • insures that everyone works toward the future well-being of all family members.
The  Divorce Coach
The Divorce Coach works with divorcing couples to help defuse highly charged emotional issues that often go along with the divorcing process. Divorce coaching integrates methods from psychotherapy, consulting and coaching to help clients navigate through the difficult process of divorce. Each spouse is empowered to maintain control of the important decision-making process during the proceedings and transition to the post-divorce stage with integrity, confidence and new hope for the future.
Divorce Coaches…
  • help people set better goals and then reach those goals.
  • ask their clients to do more than they would have done on their own.
  • focus their clients better to more quickly produce results.
  • provide the tools, support and structure to accomplish more throughout the entire process of divorce.
  • create a parenting plan that encourages a cooperative spirit and provides for the best interest of the children.
  • assist with post divorce adjustment.
Although coaching can be used concurrently with psychotherapeutic work, it is not used as a substitute. Divorce coaching is NOT psychotherapy. Coaching concentrates primarily on the issues associated with and resulting from divorce, both present and future, assuming the presence of emotional reactions to life events and that clients are capable of expressing and handling their emotions.
The Child Specialist
The Child Specialist provides children with an opportunity to express their concerns and feelings while providing parents with information to assist them in developing a co-parenting plan and helping the family adjust to divorce. This role includes offering parents guidance, education, and assistance in facilitating parenting decisions. As an integral member of the Collaborative Divorce interdisciplinary team, the role of Child Specialist will assist in reaching solutions that are in the best interest of the children.
Child Specialists…
  • Identify and prioritize the concerns of parents regarding the child(ren).
  • Listen to each child.
  • Can be the voice for the child.
  • Sensitize parents to the needs of each child in the context of the divorce.
  • Give information to parents and, if applicable, legal and coaching team to assist in developing an effective co-parenting plan.
We currently have three mental health professionals who have been trained in the collaborative family law process who are in the North Georgia Collaborative Law Network:
Stephanie Robins, LCSW Marsha Schechtman, LCSW
Robins Family Therapy
295 W. Crossville Road
3534 Old Milton Parkway Suite 740
Alpharetta, GA 30005 Roswell, GA 300075
(404) 849-5505
(678) 624-1707
robinsfamilytherapy@yahoo.com MarshaSchechtman@AtlantanPC.com
www.robinsfamilytherapy.com www.TheAtlantaBC.com
Stephanie Schiller, MSW, LCSW Kathleen W. Shack, , M.S., LMFT
Two Roads Counseling
Family Solutions Counseling
3534 Old Milton Parkway 3534 Old Milton Parkway
Alpharetta, GA 30005 Alpharetta, GA 30005
(770) 337-3281 (678) 220-0090
stephanie@tworoadscounseling.com Kathleen@MFTGA.com
www.tworoadscounseling.com www.MFTGA.com

Financial Experts
The divorce process involves the evaluation of assets, liabilities, income and expenses both current and future. The qualified financial experts will help the clients gain knowledge, acquire a better understanding of finances, develop strategies and find answers to complex issues while minimizing the income tax effects of divorce.
Common financial/tax solutions provided by the Collaborative Financial Expert:
  • Assist the clients with an appropriate understanding of finances.
  • Understand the clients’ financial position and document all the elements along with cash flows.
  • Draft the family marital balance sheet and segregate pre-marital assets through analytical procedures.
  • Provide guidance and assist with developing detailed household budgets.
  • Help interpret financial settlement options and the impact upon the clients, post-divorce using custom tailored models.
  • Assist with acquiring asset valuations on investments, retirement plans, businesses, personal property (both tangible and intangible), real property, stock options and other valuables.
  • Identify and inform the clients of insurance needs and changes including: health, disability, life, general liability and umbrella coverage, property, riders, long-term care.
  • Address child support and alimony options and recommend optimal solutions.
  • Incorporate federal and state income tax projection throughout the process.
  • Address tax matters and develop strategies to eliminate or delay their impact upon the entire family including estate and gift taxes to beneficiaries.Gain an understanding of the families’ needs both currently and in the future taking into consideration possible contingencies and risks. Work with the appropriate parties and experts to develop a risk reduction strategy that is both affordable and desirable by all parties involved.
The ideal financial professional has the proper credentials, training and hands on experience necessary to address the personal financial issues that a divorcing family will face. As a critical part of the team he/she will oftentimes bring balance, relief, practical solutions and innovative ideas relating to the financial impact of divorce.
The financial experts in the North Georgia Collaborative Law network are:
William T. Baskett, CPA/CFF, CVA, CFE
Rick Lee, CPA
BCG Financial Forensics, LLC
H. Richard Lee, Jr. CPA
One Glenlake Parkway, Suite 700
108 Colony Park Drive Suite 500/600
Sandy Springs, GA 30328
Cumming, GA 30040
(770) 649-1067
(770) 887-7560
bill.baskett.bcgff@att.net info@hrl-cpa.com
www.BCGFinancialForensics.com www.hrl-cpa.com
David Palmer, CFP, Managing Director
Kenneth D. Rogers, CPA
Milton Asset Management
327 Dahlonega Street
  Building 504
Johns Creek, GA 30005 Cumming, GA 30040
(770) 337-3281 (770) 886-9084
david@miltonassetmanagement.com krogers@kennethrogers.com
www.miltonassetmanagment.com www.kennethrogers.com