Divorce often involves many unsettling changes to deal with: finding a new place to live, handling new financial responsibilities and parenting arrangements, and the uncertainty of not knowing what the future will bring.
The prospect of going to court can be intimidating. That’s why more and more couples are turning to resolution methods where they work together to reach a settlement everyone can live with.
The chosen method depends largely on the severity of disputes between them. It’s possible for couples to divorce with no attorneys involved. These spouse-to-spouse agreements are amicable splits between couples with no children. The settlement is formatted into a legally acceptable judgment of divorce, filed at the courthouse, and the divorce is complete.
However, where there are disagreements and whenever children or considerable assets are involved, legal representation is necessary to protect the interests of both parties.
Common to almost all these methods is the participation of a disinterested, neutral third party. The most common dispute resolution methods are:
Mediation. A neutral third party, skilled in identifying areas of agreement and disagreement, helps the parties discuss their differences and reach a mutually satisfactory settlement. The couple works directly with the mediator without their attorneys, or can have their attorneys attend.
Collaborative Practice. Each party retains their own attorney and signs an agreement that they will reach a settlement without going to court. The couple agrees to honest, full disclosure of information and to remain respectful of each other throughout the process.
Arbitration. A third party (chosen by the parties and their attorneys) hears all sides of a dispute, reviews the evidence, and issues a decision, which is final. Parties agree to arbitration in advance through contract. Attorneys are present for the hearing. There is very limited appeal from an arbitration award.
Negotiation. The parties engage in back-and-forth discussions designed to reach an agreement. Generally, the attorneys conduct the negotiations.
Litigation. The parties take their case to court and a judge makes decisions that are legally binding on both parties.
Parenting Coordinator. When parents need help making decisions for their children, our attorneys act as a neutral resource to help them communicate and negotiate to meet their parenting responsibilities.