SERVICES WHEN ENDING A RELATIONSHIP
COLLABORATIVE LAW PROCESS
YOUR DIVORCE, YOUR DECISION
Collaborative Law is a more civilized private process that puts you in control of the outcome of your Dissolution of Marriage, not a judge. All meetings, communications, and proposed settlement agreements are privileged and confidential. Parties are fully informed of all issues and have the assistance of not only their respective attorneys, but a team of trained professionals every step of the way.
Unlike traditional litigation, the Collaborative Process keeps you out of the courtroom so the details of your personal life remain private. Each party has a separate attorney whose job is to not only advocate for their clients, but counsel them and work towards resolving disputes as opposed to "battling it out" in court, which in turn creates excessive attorney's fees for both parties with no guarantee of reimbursement.
As part of the professional team, the Collaborative process includes a neutral financial professional, if needed, to analyze support, assets, and property issues. In addition, a neutral mental health professional is used for communications and emotional aspects of the case, especially if there are children involved, and help fashion a Parenting Plan particular for each party's situation. This way, the attorneys can focus on the legal aspects of the case.
Why put your fate and future in the hands of a judge who hears cases, all day, every day and has to follow the black letter of the law? The Collaborative Process allows parties to be creative in fashioning a settlement agreement and Parenting Plan specific to their circumstances. In addition, the parties can include stipulations that a judge cannot do.
Instead of spending not only up to a year, or more, litigation, but also large amounts of money of excessive attorney's fees, consider the Collaborative approach. Wouldn't you rather have money to spend on yourself or your children as opposed to litigation and your attorney?
Almost all family law matters that are litigated are required to be mediated prior to a final hearing or trial before a judge. Additionally, some parties prefer to mediate prior to filing suit for a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.
In mediation, the parties (and attorneys, if any) negotiate case outcomes with the assistance of a neutral mediator to facilitate discussions. Information is shared between the parties as they deem necessary. The mediator helps negotiate a settlement, but cannot make decisions for the parties or provide legal advice. Settlement occurs only by agreement. Anything discussed during mediation is confidential and private.
When you are in litigation and ordered to mediation, or prefer to mediate prior to filing a Petition, consider me to mediate your family law matter. I have empathy, patience, compassion and resolve. As a creative problem solver, my goal is for parties to resolve their matters before turning personal matter over to a judge to decide.
Whether you have decided to end your relationship or your spouse/partner made the decision, and you choose not to use the Collaborative process or or Mediate prior to filing suit, a traditional Dissolution of Marriage leads to several issues that have to be resolved:
PARENTING PLAN - Both parties will need to decide their respective rights and responsibilities to their children to include the following:
Decision making authority
A time-sharing (formally known as custody) to include summers and holidays
Any additional matters particular to each party
EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION - Each party's marital assets including real property, in addition to liabilities/debts will need to be equitably distributed between the parties.
ALIMONY/SPOUSAL SUPPORT - Support for the spouse/partner is based on one party's need and the other party's ability to pay. Depending on the situation and length of the marriage, various forms of support include the following:
Bridge the Gap support
Lump sum support
CHILDREN - If there are children involved, in addition to a Parenting Plan, child support will need to be calculated which is based on a formula involving the following:
Each party's respective income
The amount of time each party spends with each child
Health care costs
I strongly encourage any individual contemplating a dissolution of marriage consider the Collaborative process. If your spouse/partner already has an attorney, there are still options to consider prior to entering into litigation.