Dispute Resolution Alternatives
Our Family Law Attorneys are Skilled at Review Services, Conferencing, Collaborative Law, Mediation Services & More.
The typical legal approach to the termination of a marriage is through the application of the traditional “adversarial” approach employed in many other litigated or contested legal matters. Under this approach, each spouse will typically hire an attorney and it is the responsibility of each attorney to advocate against the other for the benefit of their respective clients. While this approach can be both appropriate and beneficial in truly contentious matters, this “us-against-them” approach is not always necessary and can often lead to the creation of unnecessary disputes and animosity.
Since a divorce is the termination of a legal relationship, this traditional legal approach has historically been the primary method for addressing the need to divorce or legally separate. However, alternate approaches for the resolution of disputes and obtaining a divorce or separation are available in situations where the adversarial approach is neither necessary nor productive to reaching a mutually satisfactory resolution.
Our attorneys provide multiple approaches to dispute resolution, including:
- Mediation Services – We can provide the opportunity for both parties to benefit from the knowledge and assistance of a lawyer who is not representing either party, or acting as an attorney for either party, but instead assisting both parties in understanding the divorce process, identifying the areas of both agreement and disagreement, and helping to reach a mutually agreeable resolution on their differences. If the parties wish, we can also assist them in utilizing the mediated understanding as the basis for a legal separation or divorce.
- Collaborative Law – Under a collaborative-law approach, each party is represented by his or her own attorney, who counsels and advises each client and, rather than advocating against the other attorney, works together with the parties, in conferences attended by both of the parties and both of the attorneys, to reach a mutually agreeable resolution of their marital relationship. It is a fundamental doctrine that the parties agree at the start that they WILL NOT resort to the judicial system to resolve their differences but will continue to discuss them in the collaborative structure until they can be resolved.
- Cooperative Conferencing – Similar to the collaborative approach, in cooperative conferencing, the parties are each represented by their own attorney, but the parties meet with their attorneys to discuss, negotiate and ultimately reach a mutually agreeable resolution of their marital relationship. Unlike the collaborative law approach, however, the parties in cooperative conference are not required to agree that they will not resort to the judicial system. Rather, judicial intervention remains an option if the attempts to reach a common understanding through discussions are unsuccessful.
- Preliminary and “Second Opinion” Review Services – Many people are not at a place in their relationship where they want to take the “leap” toward divorce by hiring a divorce attorney, but they nevertheless have many questions and concerns and, without the answers to these questions, they are uncertain how to proceed. Other people have retained an attorney in a divorce matter and, while they are not entirely uncomfortable with their attorney, they wish a second opinion or a different explanation of the complex issues involved so that they can better decide the course to take and/or so they can decide if it is best to continue with their attorney or seek different counsel. We provide the opportunity to consult with an experienced divorce attorney—for as long or as often as necessary—to address any questions or concerns you may have, without the necessity of hiring us for a continuing or long-term engagement.