Family Law

TRADITIONAL FAMILY LAW

The traditional approach to family law is one that is the most common.  It involves both parties hiring an attorney to commence actions, file appropriate court motions, negotiation of settlement agreements, and preparation for trial.  Sometimes, but certainly not always, in fact less then 10% of the time, a traditional case can go to trial if a settlement cannot be reached.  This firm is experienced in all aspects of the traditional family law model.  We handle divorce, post judgment matters, custody applications, and premarital agreements.

COLLABORATIVE LAW

Collaborative Law is a non-adversarial process in which you and your spouse (or parent of your child/children if collaborating a custody matter) each hire a specially-trained collaborative divorce attorney to represent you and negotiate an agreement. Both parties make a pledge that the attorneys will withdraw if an agreement cannot be reached. Once the collaborative divorce starts, the lawyers are legally disqualified from representing you and your spouse in a contested legal proceeding. Collaborative Divorce protects privacy and confidentiality, and allows for an agreement without court intervention. Although the process is much gentler and well-received by those who embrace it, the divorcing parties must be willing to work honestly, openly, and in good faith to arrive at a fair resolution without court involvement.

This process encourages creative problem solving, win-win negotiations, and resolutions designed to meet the needs of all members of the family for a long time to come. Therefore, reaching an equitable agreement often requires a team approach, with input from financial advisors and mental health professionals as well as life coaches and child specialists. The goal of the experts is to educate the parties and explore settlement options to meet the long-term needs of both parties and their children. For this reason, some couples need a lot of time to complete the process, whereas others will reach solutions in a few meetings. Scheduled meetings with a firm agenda help the couple to conclude the process more quickly. Because there are more professionals involved, this process can be more expensive than mediation.

The key ingredient of Collaborative Divorce is that the negotiation between the parties takes place in four-way meetings where both parties and their attorneys are present. The lawyers, who have training similar to mediators, work with you as their client and one another to assure a balanced process that’s positive and productive. When there is agreement, a document is drafted by the lawyers, and reviewed and edited by you and your spouse until everyone is satisfied.

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MEDIATION

Mediation is a process that fosters discussion between the divorcing couple with the help of a neutral third party, the mediator. A mediator acts as a facilitator, helping people in conflict explore options and find a settlement that works for everyone involved, but does not make decisions for you. In mediation, the emphasis is on maintaining communication between you and your spouse. The goal is to develop a tailored divorce agreement that will be submitted to the family court at the end of the mediation process, but will keep contact with the court as brief as possible. Once you’ve reached agreement with your spouse, the legal part of the divorce is a simple process. Divorce mediators may be attorneys who have experience in divorce cases, or they may be professional mediators who are not attorneys, but who have training specifically in the area of family court matters.

Mediation usually requires between two and ten meetings, depending on complications around child custody and separation of property. It is however, significantly less costly, both financially and emotionally, than litigation. Most couples meet over a period of days, weeks or months. The adherence rate to the agreement is much higher than that of contentious, litigated divorces.

A trained mediator creates a safe, positive environment for discussions between the couple to take place. He or she will provide specific direction to encourage the parties to identify their options, and discuss the pros and cons of various actions. By active listening to both parties, the mediator is able to guide the conversation to a mutually agreeable outcome. The result is a better end to the marriage, and a more positive beginning for a new life.

 

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The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only. Any reliance you place on such information is strictly at your own risk. The information is provided by wpslaw.com and while we endeavor to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied. Read More