As a result of working in the area of family law, separation and divorce for more than 20 years I understand that not all marriages can or for that matter should continue indefinitely. In some situations both parties will benefit from terminating the legal relationship and marital household. That being said, I also realize that the process of becoming unmarried can and should be handled in a manner that allows for divorce with dignity and the preservation of civil relationships. It is possible and preferable to assist families to resolve financial, child care and property distribution issues through a process they participate in and maintain control of. Collaborative Family Law provides an ideal format to enable and assist couples to fashion a resolution that is acceptable to them.
For too long the primary process for determining the outcome of custody, support and property issues for divorcing couples has been litigation. Litigation requires that one party file a lawsuit in court against the other party. To file a case, the party initiating it must stake out a position (the result wanted) at the outset. The other party must then file and state his or her opposing position. Once the paperwork is filed negative and hurtful accusations are often made and the ability to communicate and cooperate or compromise in reaching a reasonable result is lost. Hostility and stress intensify. The litigation process is time consuming and costly. Marital assets are depleted to cover court and legal fees. Children may become the victims of a parental tug of war. Even if parents handle their children’s direct care issues reasonably, children are negatively affected by the tension, anger, hostility and/or stressful emotions being experienced by their parents.
All or most of the negative aspects of litigation and traditional approaches to handling family law matters can be avoided by utilizing the Collaborative Family Law Process. Collaborative attorneys assist families to preserve civil relationships and the ability to communicate while identifying ways to respect the concerns and interests of both parties. The needs, interest, care and protection of children is a priority. Meetings are held regularly to discuss options for best addressing the needs of the family members. The process takes into account the assets and resources available in each case and how best to utilize them.
My goal is to help each client and each family find a solution while protecting children, preserving assets, and completing the process in a time and cost efficient manner. Additional advantages to this approach include maintaining privacy and having the opportunity to control the result. Clients can be creative and incorporate the recommendations of neutral consultants regarding areas in controversy including child care plans and financial and support issues.