Often, a traditional litigation model (positional-based dispute resolution) is the only way to resolve a highly contested divorce. Unfortunately, the litigation model for dispute resolution can be costly, both financially and emotionally.
When appropriate, an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process, such as negotiation, mediation, or collaborative divorce, is more desirable than traditional litigation. ADR allows the parties to retain control over the outcome rather than have a judge make the decision. ADR is also a more private process when compared to traditional divorce litigation. With extensive training in ADR, we frequently use negotiation to reach favorable outcomes for our clients. We believe the process of negotiation is integral to resolving litigated family law matters.
Collaborative divorce and mediation also allow the parties to address the emotional issues associated with a divorce in a way that is not possible in a traditional litigation environment. Both of these alternative dispute resolution processes are designed to create a negotiating environment where the parties focus on solving their problems, rather than devoting their resources to the attribution of blame.
Mediation is a non-binding dispute resolution process in which a third party helps the parties reach an agreement. The mediator does not have the power to determine the outcome. The mediator’s role is to facilitate a resolution. There are several different models for mediation. The most commonly used are facilitative mediation and evaluative mediation. Facilitative mediators use problem-solving mediation techniques to assist the parties in reaching and memorializing an agreement and expresses no opinions. Evaluative mediation is a similar process to facilitative mediation; however, the mediator offers suggestions about how the judge might decide certain aspects of the dispute.
When couples agree to utilize the collaborative process to resolve their divorce, they are agreeing to work together, aided by their divorce lawyers and other professionals, to reach a resolution outside of court. The goal of the collaborative law process is to reach a settlement that addresses each parties’ interests. It’s predicated on candor, good faith, full disclosure, and cooperation. When progress toward a settlement is stalled due to a lack of information or due to emotional issues, the parties can address those roadblocks quickly with the assistance of the appropriate professional such as a therapist or financial advisor. All parties involved, including the attorneys, have an incentive to reach an out-of-court settlement because if the process fails and either party decides to pursue litigation, both attorneys must withdraw from the case.
There are many advantages to the collaborative process when compared to traditional litigation. The collaborative process can be faster and less expensive. The collaborative process is also advantageous because it allows the parties to seek win-win solutions that are not possible in the zero-sum model of traditional litigation. Finally, because disputes are settled outside of family law court, the collaborative law process offers couples privacy not available with traditional divorce litigation.
If you are looking for an experienced family law attorney, contact us today to request a litigation alternative consultation.
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