Collaborative Divorce and Divorce Mediation
Collaborative Divorce and Divorce Mediation are similar in the sense that they both aim to achieve a negotiated agreement rather than engage in contentious court proceedings. They differ in some important aspects, and it is important to speak with a trusted attorney to determine which process is the right choice for you.
Mediation is voluntary process by which you and your spouse make joint decisions on a settlement. An attorney from The Family Formation Law Center will act as a singular, professional mediator to facilitate discussions but does not give advice or make decisions. The mediator may, however, make suggestions as to how the various disputed issues can be resolved.
Often the parties will have their own independent attorneys review the agreement reached during mediation if they were unrepresented by legal counsel during the mediation process. This ensures that all parties receive a fair outcome from the mediation process and helps to create a durable agreement.
The Divorce Mediation Process
Both parties meet with the mediator to identify issues, exchange information, and work towards an agreement. The parties may each have their own lawyer and may retain other professionals as deemed necessary to answer questions in advocacy for each party confidentially. In complex divorces (those cases characterized by a large amount of or high value assets, special needs children, business investments) each party may choose to have his or her attorney at the mediation session. When the attornies from The Family Formation Law Center are acting as mediator, we strongly suggest that the parties hire an attorney to review their mediated decisions after a settlement has been reached, but before filing with the court, to gain assurance that their legal rights are upheld.
Mediation can be used to handle different types of family law issues, such as:
• Divorce & legal separation
• Children custody, placement and access plans
• Valuation & division of property
• Spousal & child support
• Pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements
Benefits of Mediation
• You set your own pace
• You do not have to go to court
• The mediation process is confidential
• Oftentimes less expensive
Collaborative divorce is a legal process enabling couples who have decided to separate or end their marriage to work with an attorney and, on occasion, other family professionals in order to avoid the uncertain outcome of court and to achieve a settlement that best meets the specific needs of both parties and their children without the underlying threat of contested litigation.
Collaborative divorce is an option that allows couples to resolve their disputes respectfully and privately as opposed to a public hearing. It is a cooperative, solutions-based approach to ending a relationship. It differs from traditional litigation by allowing control of the process to remain with the spouses, instead of a judge. Because clients agree not to proceed to court, the process is less adversarial. By enhancing communication skills throughout this process, a couple also attains a better foundation for a healthy relationship after the divorce.
The collaborative process can be used to facilitate a broad range of other family issues, including disputes between parents and the drawing up of pre and post-marital contracts.The traditional method of drawing up pre-marital contracts is oppositional, and many couples prefer to begin their married life on a better footing where documents are drawn up consensually and together
The Collaborative Process
The goal of collaborative practice is to achieve a mutually acceptable, negotiated settlement between two parties without the threat of court proceedings hanging over the parties. Each party retains their own collaborative attorney who gathers information, provides guidance on rights, responsibilities and options, and participates in the negotiation of a settlement.
A collaborative divorce is an excellent choice when each party prefers to have his or her own independent attorney guide them through the legal process and chooses counsel that is not hostile. If the participants ultimately are unable to agree on a divorce settlement, the collaborative attorneys withdraw, and the parties transition to litigation attorneys who take the matter to court.
The Collaborative Team
Collaborative attorneys have specialized training in areas such as dispute resolution. Sometimes, they work with other professionals to help to facilitate an agreement. Other professionals that may be a part of your team are:
• Child Specialists - to create a parenting plan that works best for the children
• Financial Specialists - to gather, analyze and interpret financial information
• Valuation Consultants - to provide neutral valuations of assets, such as real estate, businesses or retirement accounts and pensions
• Vocational Consultants - to provide training, education and employment information
• Divorce Coach - to assist with communications and difficult emotions
These professionals are jointly selected by you and your spouse and they are neutral advisors. As a result, they are not intended, and may not operate as expert witnesses in litigation, but merely as advisors to the entire team.
Which Option is Right for You?
Each couple has unique circumstances and goals. Finding the least adversarial approach to resolving disputes is important, particularly when children are involved. The Family Formation Law Center helps clients identify and achieve what is important to them so they can move forward with their life. To speak with Rose Kesten Pondel regarding potential divorce proceedings, click here.
The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.