You Have a Choice
Separation and divorce is stressful and painful. The way you choose to resolve the issues can make it worse or better. You decide the road to take.
Collaborative Team Practice
The Collaborative process is a cost-effective, future-focused, efficient, creative, problem-solving process. It is not about finding blame. It’s about creating a unique resolution that meets the core concerns of both parties. A professional team of divorce lawyers will support you to find a resolution to the issues, through a series of meetings. You’ll get the information you need to make the best decisions. You will commit to not going to family court and to negotiating a fair deal that works over the long term. In most cases, this is the best way to minimize the cost and pain of divorce. See the Collaborative Roadmap Here.
You and your spouse work with a neutral third party to negotiate the terms of an agreement that works for your family. Normally, your lawyer does not attend the mediation process but you will have the opportunity to review the agreement with your lawyer prior to signing an agreement. It is effective, but some clients prefer the Collaborative process where your lawyer is present throughout the negotiations.
It is always better to negotiate a settlement than to litigate it. Lawyer negotiations often result in an agreement. Some negotiations are conducted by correspondence but we sometimes have four way meetings to discuss the issues face-to-face. The advantage of the Collaborative process over lawyer negotiations is that in Collaborative there is a commitment that the case will not go to court. With Lawyer Negotiations, it is possible for the case to end up in court if resolution is not achieved. Family court is slow, costly, difficult to predict and you are giving the power to decide the issues to the judge.
Arbitration is similar to the court process except that the parties and their lawyers choose the judge and determine the procedural steps. As a result, closure is achieved. The downfall is that parties give the arbitrator (a privately retained professional who is given the powers of a judge) the right to decide the case only on the basis of the law. As a result, creative solutions that meet the core concerns cannot be considered. The arbitrator applies the law as he or she sees fit. It’s better than going to family court but it is expensive, and you give the power to decide the case to the arbitrator.
Family court is a last resort. It is expensive, slow and the results are difficult to predict. The adversarial nature of the process often escalates the animosity between the parties. The judge will make decisions about your family based on the law without regard to your core concerns. The judge cannot be creative. Although we regularly represent clients in family court, we do so only if there is no other avenue of resolution available.
Here is a chart that compares the various process choices.