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Collaborative Case Study #3 — Max and Mary

This is the third in our series of Collaborative Case Studies. Case Study #3 was an actual collaboration that demonstrated how Collaborative Practice can be tailored to many different family situations and can provide referrals to clinicians who can assist with people dealing with family of origin issues and trauma.

The names and identifying details of the parties have been changed to preserve anonymity.

Max and Mary’s Story

Max and Mary have been married for 15 years, with 3 children 10, 12 and 14. Max is hearing impaired and lip reads. Mary is from very dysfunctional home, is financially dependent on Max and has a new partner. The parties sought assistance with parenting, including with a nesting arrangement and division of a property pool of approximately $5 Million. The Collaborative process involved four, 5-way face to face meetings with two lawyers and a coach and three separate 3-way meetings with just the parents and coach to develop a Parenting Plan and assist with other matters.

  • A power imbalance, with Max being financially literate and Mary not. A valuation of Max’s financial planning practice was sought and separate financial advice for Mary was arranged.
  • Co-dependency issues with Max relying on Mary for the social/psychosocial aspects of their family life, including the children’s school life and activities. The coach assisted Max to seek out ways he could involve himself in the children’s school and activities and encouraged him to build on his friendships.
  • Mary had some unresolved issues arising from her own family experience as a child living through a traumatic marriage breakdown and a referral for her was arranged for separate therapy which Max agreed to pay for.
  • The children were at religious schools and there was an element of judgment being publicly expressed regarding the parties preferred parenting arrangements. These involved Max moving to Mary’s new partner’s flat for a week-about arrangement and the partner moving into the family home with Mary during that time and he and Mary moving to his flat for the alternate week. The parties’ families were also disapproving. The coach worked with the parties in separate 3-way meetings to address these issues.
  • The team assisted the family reach agreement and felt confident in their ability to move forward seeking ongoing assistance as required.