Alternative dispute resolution is a popular alternative to prolonged litigation. Mediation and Collaborative Law are both forms of alternative dispute resolution that allows opposing parties to work with trained professionals to reach amicable resolutions to complex legal issues such as:
- Child support
- College planning
- Division of assets
- Contempt resolution
- Modifications of existing judgments
The goal of mediation is to provide parties with a less formal, non-adversarial environment in which both parties can work with an impartial mediator to construct an agreement that embodies joint decisions as opposed to decisions made for them by a judge.
This environment is especially beneficial to children of participants; allowing parents the opportunity to sit down and create a custody agreement with the children’s best interests in mind rather than engage in a lengthy and emotional custody battle.
Mediation allows couples to control the outcome of their case, reaching a resolution that works for their family. Mediators do not provide legal advice or represent either or both parties in court. Participants should retain separate counsel to review any written agreements or answer any legal questions, so they understand their legal rights.
It is often less expensive to participate in mediation and use counsel to advise or review agreements than the costs for parties to engage in contested litigation.COLLABORATIVE LAW
Collaborative Law is another form of alternative dispute resolution where everyone involved focuses on avoiding litigation. This voluntary process allows for both parties to receive hands-on legal advice from counsel trained in collaborative law. The participants choose a collaborative coach/facilitator to work with them and their attorneys. The attorneys will advocate for their client's interest with the goal of solving the dispute in an amicable fashion. When appropriate, a financial neutral or therapist trained in collaborative law may be brought in to assist with negotiation.
Collaborative Law works best in cases where both parties are willing and able to participate honestly and respectfully. It is often more cost effective than litigation. The process allows participants to have access to experts (therapist, accountant, business evaluators, etc.) that will help everyone make a decision that is best for their family.