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The children in a couple’s divorce can become the unintended victims of suffering, having the least ability and experience to cope with personal and emotional distress. However, there is a healthier and more effective process that separating parents can use to divorce, where they are always in charge of their own mutually agreed upon resolution. This is called the Collaborative Divorce Process, and it actually has many benefits for children. We will describe the benefits and how they work, along with resources for your child that you as a separating parent can use.

There are many benefits to children when their parents use the collaborative divorce and mediation-like process:

  • A healthier way to address your child’s needs: The collaborative divorce method is designed to be non-adversarial, or keep opposition out of the way of peacefully and respectfully settling a divorce. The process allows for the two parties to work together to create mutually beneficial settlements, encouraged by respectful dialogue and a cooperative, problem-solving approach. With this goal in mind, focus can then be placed on the needs of the children and how the parties can provide for those needs post-divorce. This keeps the children out of the middle of the conflict, reducing any added stressors they are already facing due to their parents separating.
  • Reduces conflict: With court-based divorce, the resentful and hostile environment created can have a more negative impact on your children than the divorce itself. With a low-conflict collaborative divorce that takes place in a peaceful environment, your children can actually better adjust to the changes ahead of them. This method allows you and your ex-spouse to resolve your issues together, with a professional attorney and coach there for you on each side.
  • Promotes emotional stability: It can be easy to bring the conflict of a court-room battle home to your children, causing them to lose their ability to cope with the divorçe. Collaborative divorce promotes calm and level-headed discussions that allow you to stay strong emotionally to take better care of your children, and your demonstrated positivity can help them with their own emotional transition.
  • Resolves financial issues: Collaborative divorce is more economical in many ways, giving you the opportunity to fairly divide your assets to benefit yourself and your children for their future stability.
  • Encourages co-parenting: The collaborative divorce mentality promotes that your former spouse is more than just an ex, but a co-parent to always be there for your kids. You will be given the opportunity to work together and solve problems as they arise, so you’ll have more chances to make your kids happy when they see you together at their personal activities and family events.
  • Offers creative solutions: Collaborative divorce encourages the separated parties to use creativity to resolve challenges relating to child custody, visitation, and more.

Emotional Support Resources For Your Child: 

Child inclusive: In some cases, a child specialist will meet with the children to provide feedback to the collaborative team and parties. This is important because they are meeting in a neutral environment to provide feedback and information to help create a support plan for the children in the collaborative divorce process. This mental health professional can assess the feelings and needs of the child to help them feel a sense of support. They can also inform the parents of their child’s concerns and desires so these can be worked into the final parenting plan.

About Nevada Collaborative Divorce Professionals

NCDP professionals work together to help contesting parties resolve their disagreements efficiently and respectfully outside of court. Our team works as a filter to keep legal, emotional, financial, property, and child custody matters from hindering a resolution that is fair and acceptable to both divorcing parties and any children. NCDP’s team is composed of divorce lawyers, mental health, and financial professionals based out of Northern Nevada cities Reno, Sparks, Carson City, and Minden/Gardnerville. We can help your conflicts become resolved without going to court by negotiating mutually acceptable settlements.

Our Melissa Exline, Vice President since 2016, focuses on divorce and custody cases and works with clients to reach an amicable resolution. She takes an honest, straight-forward approach to family law, always putting children first when custody is a high priority. A member of the Nevada Justice Association, you can find Melissa at Surratt Law Practice in Reno, Nevada.

We at Nevada Collaborative Divorce Professionals believe that when mutual respect and a resolve to manage differences are maintained through cooperative divorce, moving forward has a realistic basis for success. With the more positive process this method promotes, new beginnings and opportunities take root more quickly. Contact us today and see how our team can help your divorce stay out of courtroom litigation!

How to Divorce and Stay Out of Court

One of the key features of a Collaborative Divorce is the parties agree, up front, to a process where they will work things out and not resort to filing a divorce case against each other.  A local group called Nevada Collaborative Divorce Professionals (“NCDP”) helps people learn how to get a divorce, but avoid the contested and emotionally traumatic “court” part where possible.

The members of NCDP are also part of a larger group called the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (“IACP”).  The IACP website has a useful website that explains a lot.  The explanation and information provided here is a good place to learn more about collaborative, why it works and how it can help you divorce differently!

Melissa Exline, Esq.

Working with families to bring some peace to the chaos that can dominate during the divorce process demands a special, people-centered approach. Melissa does not have cases, she deals with people — people that matter deeply. Her practice focuses on divorce and custody cases, and she prefers to work with clients to reach an amicable resolution. Melissa prides herself on an honest, straight-forward approach to family law, truly becoming a team with her clients, and always putting the children first when custody is a dominating element.

Melissa is Vice President of NCDP (2016) and on its board of directors. In addition, she is a member of the Nevada Justice Association and works to lobby in the area of family law.

How are taxes handled during a divorce?

There are many factors that determine how you will file your taxes in the final year of marriage and after you are divorced. Depending on whether you are divorced by 11:59 p.m. on December 31st or not will determine whether you can file married filing joint, married filing separate, single, or head of household.

The IRS determines your filing status as of the end of the year, so if you are divorced by the end of the year, the only filing statuses available are single or head of household. In contrast, if you are still married as of the end of the year, then your filing status choices are married filing joint, married filing separate, or under certain circumstances, head of household. In order to claim head of household, all of the following conditions must be met:  (1) you and your spouse have to have lived apart for at least the last 6 months of the year, (2) you aren’t filing a joint tax return with your spouse, (3) your home was your dependent child’s main home for more than half the year, (4) you paid more than half the costs of maintaining your household, and (5) you must meet all the criteria for claiming your child as a dependent.

Who claims the income in the year of divorce and during the divorce process is also determined based on a few factors. Generally, in Nevada (a community property state) income earned during marriage is considered community property. This means that each spouse is responsible for paying the taxes on the income earned during marriage. However, it can be a little tricky during the divorce process and the year of divorce to determine who claims the income. If while the spouses are married they are reliant on the same source of income, generally the income is split between each spouse equally up until the date of divorce. There are exceptions to this depending on if the spouses maintained separate households, whether or not the spouses depended on one spouse’s income, if they transferred earned income, if they each were able to support themselves on their own income, or if the spouses included in their divorce decree how the income would be divided in the final year of marriage. For example, if one spouse was the only worker and provided the only source of income for household expenses, the spouses would split the income equally through the date of divorce.

As mentioned above, there are many factors you need to determine when filing your taxes during the divorce process and after you are divorced. You should contact a CPA to discuss your options before filing your taxes and finalizing your divorce decree.

Lisa Bagley is a CPA and CVA (Certified Valuation Analyst) who assists her clients with tax preparation, business valuations, calculating income available for alimony and child support, preparing forensic accounting analysis, and preparing schedules to identify and assist in dividing marital assets and debts. She has experience working with clients in the collaborative model for divorce as well as working as an expert witness in litigated divorce. She is the President of Tax & Advisory Services, PC and can be reached at (775) 359-1040 or

Lisa Bagley, CPA, CVA

Tax & Advisory Services, PC
1135 Terminal Way, Suite 103
Reno, NV 89502
775-507-4375 (fax)