Collaborative Divorce Professionals of West Michigan Annual


History. CDP was formed in June 2006 with five members. In May 2007, following training held in Grand Rapids, membership quadrupled to its current level of 20 active members. Meeting attendance is regularly 15-17. It's fair to say our group has "jelled." The meetings are well attended, with enthusiastic conversation.

Organizational Structure. CDP has a four member leadership team that is the accountability sector for CDP functions. We also have the following teams: Public Education, Website, and Professional Development.

Dues for 2010 have not yet been set, but the proposed amount is $65.00 for dues plus $60.00 per person to cover lunches for the year, for a total of $125.00. There is also a one time fee equal to one hour at the member's usual hourly rate in order to be listed on the web-site. The membership requirements are that each member 1) be trained in collaborative practice; 2) be a member of CPIM; and 3) pay annual dues.

Meeting Structure. Meetings are held 9 times a year on a monthly basis (except July, August, and December) over lunch, alternating between a downtown law firm and east side restaurant. The leadership team meets in advance of the meeting of the whole and establishes an agenda.

During 2009 meetings rotated between whole group meetings, team work meetings and professional group work meetings. Topics addressed included one coach/two coach model, how MHPs can be more effective, can/will attorneys help with the legal issues of patients of the MHP without filing an appearance, etc. In 2010, every attempt will be made to keep to this format, however the group is undertaking significant marketing efforts which shift the agenda on an as needed basis.

Social Events. Numerous efforts were made to get the group together socially, including a gathering that included dinner and a concert. We went to hear the fabulous modern Irish music group Gaelic Storm, made famous by their appearance in the movie Titanic. More events are being planned for the upcoming year.

Education: CDP has from its formation engaged in targeted marketing efforts to educate the public and other professionals. A number of presentations have been made to various organizations and a thoughtful plan is being implemented to educate clergy.

Strategic Planning. CDP worked somewhat informally on its strategic plan. From this planning process we developed our mission statement and organizational structure. We identified goals and timelines for 2009 which we have met. We have successfully developed a website for the organization. We are currently in the process of developing a public education plan that is targeted in 2010 to clergy. We are also in the process of developing an organization logo.

CDP Mission Statement

The multi-disciplinary members of CDP, including lawyers, mental health professionals and financial specialists, work together to promote the collaborative process in families undergoing separation or divorce by

  • Educating the public and family professionals about collaborative process and promoting its use when appropriate
  • Modeling collaboration in the divorce process ass family professionals in order to achieve optimal transitions for our clients and their families
  • Developing and encouraging the highest levels of competence in providing collaborative services

Submitted by,

Randy Velzen, liaison for the Collaborative Divorce Professionals of West Michigan