On May 19th Joseph C. Noto. a collaborative divorce lawyer in Bergen County, made a presentation on the interdisciplinary team approach in a collaborative divorce case to the “Mid-Jersey Collaborative Law Alliance” and was asked to present “when do you start the Interdisciplinary team Approach? There were 25 people present at the presentation, consisting of lawyers, mental health and financial professionals, all of whom are collaboratively trained. He explained that the Interdisciplinary team should start right at the outset of the collaborative case and not brought in later on. Since the team controls the Process and the clients control the Content and Outcome, all the team members need to know what is going on in the case all the time. Joseph Noto first established what is an interdisciplinary team. He told them that the team consists of two (2) attorneys, and a neutral: faciliatator/mental health professional, a financial professional and a parent/child specialist when there are children in the family. Joseph Noto then explained the role of the interdisciplinary team, which is to help the parties arrive at an outcome that they think is in the bests interest of their family. If the parties have children the neutral child specialist is brought in first and meets with the children BEFORE a parenting plan is worked out with the facilatator/mental health neutral. This child specialist is the voice of the children and generally only one or two sessions are needed with the children. The team and parents are then informed of the childrens’ feelings by the child specialist. He explained that the facilatator/mental health neutral helps the paents work out what they think is the best custody and parenting plan for their children, if there are children in the case, and is in every joint session with the parties, as well as when they meet with the financial person to discuss the financial matters to arrive at a settlement, if they do not work it out in the joint sessions. The financial professional gathers all the financial information of the parties to disseminate to the attorneys and the parties in order that the parties can work out alimony and child support, if appropriate, and the division of the equitable assets and liabilities of the parties. Mr Noto then explained that although at first blush it seems like this is very costly process, since there a lot of people in the case, actually it saves the clients money since they have a neutral who is using their discipline to help the parties work out their concerns at a lower cost rather than two attorneys who will cost considerably more and are not as qualified in those disciplines. Generally, the clients save over 35% using the interdisciplinary team approach over the litigation process and it is consideraly faster to get divorced. Joseph Noto said that the interdisciplinary team approach, in his opinion, is the best model to use since it lets the parties decide what is best for their family and not the courts. The members asked numersous questions of Joseph Noto and the collective agreement of them was that the “interdisciplinary team approach from the beginning” is the best way to go. Some members gave examples of how a case failed since they either didn’t use a nuetral or brought them in too late. Joseph Noto said he felt like “Johnny Appleseed” spreading the word on the “interdisciplnary team approach from the outset” and thanked the members for asking him to make the presentation and helping him in speading the word.