Collaborative Divorce/Collaborative Law
One relatively new trend in divorce is collaborative law. Through the process of collaborative law, people can resolve disputes in a more amicable and efficient manner that saves time and money. Collaborative law may be used in a number of contexts, including:
- Custody and visitation disputes
- Child support disputes
- Relocation disputes (moving to new location with minor children)
People use collaborative law when they want to reach their goals without unnecessary delay, cost or acrimony.
What is Collaborative Law?
Collaborative Law requires both parties to be represented by collaborative counsel who are certified in collaborative law. You and your spouse come together in a cooperative manner to reach solutions that are satisfactory to both of you. You drive the decision-making process rather than allowing a judge to make decisions for you. Collaborative divorce agreements regarding child custody or parenting plans require court approval.
If a resolution can't be agreed on in collaborative divorce meetings, attorney ethical rules require you to complete the divorce litigation process with a different lawyer.
Advantages of Mediation and Collaborative Law
Compared to traditional divorce litigation, mediation and collaborative divorce allow the couple to come up with unique solutions that meet each person's needs. In litigation, a judge makes decisions for you. These other methods let you take control of the situation.
Mediation and collaborative divorce are often quicker than divorce litigation. Both parties spend less time fighting and more time cooperating with each other to find solutions that are tailored to their individual needs.
Divorce litigation is an expensive process. Alternative dispute resolution techniques provide a less costly option for divorcing parties.
Mediation in Divorce and Family Law Disputes
Choosing the right attorney for a divorce, child custody modification, paternity proceeding or other family law matter can be challenging. When making your decision, consider the style and personality of the attorney you choose.
Some attorneys brand themselves as “aggressive.” This appeals to individuals who are scared or angry. The problem, however, is that aggression has nothing to do with winning at trial, and it certainly does nothing to facilitate agreements which will avoid the cost, time or stress of protracted litigation.
Using the Right Tool for the Job
Everyone knows that certain jobs require certain tools. The tools of an effective family law attorney are intelligence, reason, communication, preparation and diligence. I effectively use these tools on your behalf. I also use mediation effectively to reach your primary goals.
As a divorce and family law attorney, I utilize a number of tools to pursue the objectives of my clients. One of the tools that has yielded many positive results is mediation.
What is Mediation and How Does it Work?
In Spokane County and other areas throughout Washington, mediation is required by the court prior to trial in a divorce or family law matter. However, while all parties are required to attend mediation prior to trial, not all parties take full advantage of mediation.
As an experienced family law attorney, I have represented many clients at mediations. I have found that detailed preparation and patience have enabled me to help many clients resolve contested matters with the assistance of an experienced mediator.
The Role of the Mediator
The mediator is neutral. They have no stake in the matter other than a desire to help facilitate an agreement between the parties. However, a mediator is not a lawyer and is not obligated to protect your rights. As such, it is critical that you retain an attorney that can protect your rights at a mediation.
My Role in a Mediation
As your attorney, I would attend mediation by your side, prepare for mediation by fully understanding the facts and law involved in your case, protect your rights during the mediation, and work diligently to help you resolve your case successfully. I would explain the role of the mediator, let you know the risks and rewards of mediation, and serve your best interests throughout the duration of the mediation.
What Types of Disputes Can Mediation Resolve?
Mediation may be used to resolve issues in a divorce, paternity or post-divorce matter. Mediation may be used to help clients resolve property division disputes in a divorce, child visitation issues before or after divorce, child custody disputes during or after divorce, and other contested family law matters.