I offer the collaborative team or a scaled-down approach to meet your individual situation based upon your needs and budget. I practice collaborative law cases with other experienced and trusted attorneys and professionals. In most collaborative law cases, clients choose two attorneys, a divorce coach, a financial specialist and a child specialist when children are involved. I do not believe in a cookie-cutter collaborative law divorce model; together, we assess your needs and create the collaborative divorce that fits you.
Collaborative law is different from “traditional” divorce, in there is a higher level of support, legally, financially and emotionally. We do our best to minimize the hurt and the negative effects of divorce. Rather than attorneys and clients positioning and arguing at court or in a traditionally grueling one-day settlement conference, the attorneys work collaboratively with each other and with their clients to create constructive and meaningful solutions that are durable. It is a confidential process where the clients control the result. It is an out-of-court settlement process. The only time people go to court is to finalize the divorce with their attorneys.
How does it work? Through a series of meetings, the collaborative professionals and you, the clients, work together to define goals and objectives and create options that work for you and your family. Your collaborative attorneys/team help you to reach any temporary agreements that you need without having to go to court. Without the threat of court intervention, you can work through your divorce at your pace and ultimately reach final agreements regarding your finances and your children.
I have a highly respected, dedicated, and established professional collaborative law network that I have worked successfully with for years now. I work with divorce coaches, certified financial divorce analysts, child specialists, and others to help navigate your divorce from beginning to end in a thoughtful and strategic manner. Divorce coaches can help you work through the emotional aspects of divorce and separation. The grief and the stress can feel monumental at times, and the divorce coach is there to help you process the grief and minimize the pain, and to provide practical advice surrounding difficult communication issues with your spouse.
Financial specialists can gather financial data and provide important guidance in financial matters related to your divorce and future. Child specialists can help you learn how to craft language to tell your kids about the divorce, and to assist you in parenting issues related to the divorce. They can also, if needed, work with the kids to help them to express their concerns that they may not be able to tell you. They are experts at assessing the stress and impact of the divorce and can offer extra help in this area if needed.
Collaborative Law is distinct from the “traditional” or old-school way of divorce. While litigation, or old-school representation may be appropriate in some circumstances, it can also have a very high price tag, both financially and emotionally. Many times it leaves people with no control over the result. In traditional family law models, family law matters can quickly escalate and become adversarial, starting with court motions and many times escalating to the point of a very stressful and expensive trial, with a judge making the final decisions. Sadly, both parties usually end up unhappy about the expense and the results, leaving both parties drained emotionally and financially.
Collaborative Law is also distinct from “cooperative law” which is another name for a standard attorney-attorney negotiation model. The word cooperative mainly means that the attorneys try to be civil with each other, rather than combative as is often seen in the litigation model. While hopefully civil, the attorneys still position themselves, and use whatever leverage and evidence they have, resulting in either proposals between attorneys or a brutally-long, all day “settlement conference” with a judge-like mediator or arbitrator. It is akin to a mini-trial without the court system. It still has an adversarial nature. This process can leave clients unsatisfied because it is an attorney-driven process and the clients do not have much ownership over the results of their own divorce. Many times, they just want to get it over with, so people end up with results they may regret the very next day. In collaborative law, the clients are at the center of the decision-making process AND they are supported by the professionals in a meaningful and authentic way. Final decisions are not forced; they are reached and agreed to in a mindful manner.
Facilitative Mediation is different from collaborative law in that it is a scaled-down process. Rather than having attorneys present in the room, both parties generally meet with just the mediators. A benefit of mediation is that it can be a more direct way of reaching a settlement because there are fewer professionals in the room, and therefore, may end up being less expensive. The number of mediation sessions in a divorce is related to the level of conflict and the complexities of the case. Depending upon the needs and interests of the parties, mediation can be one session or it can be a series of sessions. At the end of your mediation process, you will have a “Mediated Agreement” that can easily be converted into the necessary legal forms for your divorce or separation. If needed, mediation can involve other professionals, such as divorce coaches, financial specialists or child specialists. Parties may or may not choose to have a consulting attorney, but it is recommended.
What makes me different from other mediators? As an attorney-mediator, I am well-versed in the law and legal processes, and as a former teacher and a person who is committed to peace-making, I also know how to support, guide, and empower clients to reach their goals in a gentle manner.