As some of you may know, I am a prolific and creative baker. I just love to make from scratch all kinds of pies, cakes, exotic icings, yeast breads, fruit strudels, obscenely delicious brownies, cupcakes galore and more varieties of cookies than Rachel Ray has recipes for chicken. The secret of baking is to follow a recipe precisely- no guessing and no “a little of this and a little of that.” Careful measuring and limited substitutions produce the fluffiest cakes and cookies that melt in your mouth. Too much salt or too little baking soda can ruin everything. So, how is this related to getting divorced? For a successful result, you must first assemble the right ingredients. In collaborative divorce, my other specialty, the ingredients for success lie in the different members of the team. Two lawyers, a mental health professional and a financial neutral are essentials as flour, butter and eggs are for a cake. Each lawyer, specially trained in the field of collaborative divorce, represents a spouse or partner. While working as their advocate, each lawyer is also dedicated to working together with the clients and their children to mix the right recipe for the family’s future. The mental health professional, as a divorce coach or child specialist, works as the leavening agent in the mix. MHP’s help clients learn to communicate with each other in healthier ways and bring their special calming voices to the table. In addition, children are given a voice in decisions regarding matters that affect them the most. A financial neutral keeps track of the family’s finances, budget, assets, liabilities and goals. By focusing on those matters, a FN brings clarity and sometimes needed brutal honesty about financial decisions that have to be made to move forward. The combination of ingredients, when properly blended and composes, leads clients to a long-lasting and satisfying settlement.