Collaborative law is the best alternative to traditional divorce litigation ever created. In collaborative law, both parties sign a contract with their collaborative attorneys agreeing to resolve each issue in the divorce without litigating. The parties and their counsel negotiate at settlement conferences held in offices instead of battling in a courtroom. Traditional divorce litigation can waste time and money in court hearings. Your time and money can be better spent in settlement conferences, where all participants are committed to creating the best solutions.
The attorneys either are trained mediators or are very familiar with the mediation process, and they have the ability to resolve conflict without litigation. If the collaborative process fails, then neither attorney can represent his or her client further, and new counsel must be obtained for a litigated divorce. In collaborative law, a neutral custody evaluator can be used to deal with issues regarding the children, such as custody and visitation as well as any special needs. A neutral financial advisor can assist in financial issues, even an appropriate maintenance or child-support award. Both of these advisors are unbiased.
The concept of a divorce coach is often used in collaborative law. The coach’s role is to enable the client to deal with any emotional issues that may keep him or her from focusing on the negotiation process.
Once all of the issues are resolved, the attorneys prepare the final agreement and accompany their clients in court to finalize their cases.
In mediation, parties negotiate on behalf of themselves. Each party should have an attorney to act as an advisor. The parties work through and resolve each issue with the help of the mediator by meeting at the mediator’s office. While the divorce attorneys generally do not appear at the meetings, one attorney will draft the final documents, and usually, both attorneys will appear with their clients in court to finalize the case. Collaborative law takes the amicable approach of divorce mediation a step further with the absolute prohibition against litigation.
Collaborative law is a cost-effective and successful alternative to divorce litigation.
Kathryn M. Somers has helped thousands of clients as an attorney and mediator over the past 22 years. Her practice is located in Northfield, Illinois.