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Building Something New and Hopefully Better: The Collaborative Approach
Posted By Laci Bowman || Jul 22, 2013
In my experience, it is a rare marriage that ends in divorce because of one person’s doing. Marriage takes a lot of work from two people fully committed to the relationship. The choice to get divorced is a huge decision that should be made after careful consideration, but that is just step one in the decision making process.
There are many ways to get divorced, and the process you choose for your divorce will impact you and your family for years to come. For instance, you could chose for a Court to be the final decision maker to make decisions for your family, or you could choose to make those decisions yourself with the help of professionals. The collaborative law process allows couples to end marriages with civility and respect. Unlike the traditional litigation approach, collaborative law is a process that allows the couple to make decisions together to create agreements for their post-divorce life.
The process begins by hiring an attorney that is trained in collaborative law. Then, the collaborative attorneys will help the spouses find a mental health professional and financial professional to help serve as the “Collaborative Law Team.” Together with the Collaborative Law Team, the spouses will meet outside of Court and work through all the financial and children issues that are unique to your family. In the end, the agreements will be drafted in a decree and the decree will be presented to the Court for entry.
Children of divorcing parents often suffer the most, feeling the negative energy of both parents as they engage in litigation style divorce tactics. In collaborative law, the Team helps parents focus on looking forward to restructuring the family rather than focusing on blame and past behaviors. In collaborative law, the Team helps the parents focus on co-parenting and working together to resolve issues rather than blame shifting and positioning for Court.
Collaborative law isn’t for everyone. In certain cases it is impossible to reason with one or both of the people and collaborative law is not viable. However, before engaging in the costly pursuit of trial and litigation, why not first try to resolve your disputes collaboratively? Discuss all the options with your attorney and think through all the issues facing you and your family. Make an informed decision. And, if you have children, talk to your spouse about collaborative law and the benefits it may offer for building a new and hopefully better future for your family.