Definition of Child Specialist
A child specialist is typically a child therapist, who works on the collaborative divorce team, and has extensive experience in separation and divorce issues. The role of the child specialist is not as an advocate or custody evaluator, but rather to gather information about a child’s emotional state and use this information within the collaborative process. They are bound by the Collaborative Participation Agreement, and they simply make recommendations as a neutral third party team member.
A child specialist meets with both parents in separate parental sessions and then with the child. The child specialist will present information about their findings to all parties of the collaborative team. The child specialist is generally an experienced, licensed therapist or psychologist with a specialization in child behaviors, normal childhood stages, and the challenges of child development.
The goal of the child specialist is to help the parents develop a practical plan to deal with the day-to-day needs of a child during and after the divorce process. The child specialist role is incredibly important in the collaborative process as the family is restructured. Their role can be indispensible as they help the parents understand what is in the best interest of the child and what steps should be taken to help minimize the difficult emotional impact of divorce on a child.