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In Search of the Kinder and Gentler Divorce: Mediation and Collaborative Divorce vs. "Traditional" Divorce - Part II
Despite what you may read to the contrary in some of the articles on this subject, it is not only the toughest cases - involving mental health issues or accusations of abuse - in which parties to divorce are unsuitable for collaborative divorce or mediation.
In Search of the Kinder and Gentler Divorce: Mediation and Collaborative Divorce vs. Traditional Divorce - Part I
What is the best way to get a divorce? It appears there are more options these days than ever. What used to be called simply "divorce" is now being labeled traditional divorce as purportedly new methods of resolving divorce disputes are increasingly being promoted, through marketing efforts which are surfacing throughout the media.
In Collaborative Divorce, lawyers and spouses have one goal, the collaborative resolution of all issues-without the threat of trial. This goal is established ahead of time in a contract signed by you, your spouse, and both attorneys.
There is a time in everyone’s marriage when one spouse or the other is attracted to another person. After all, although we’re married, our interest in other humans is never completely shut off. Therefore, in the course of a marriage, it should not be at all surprising that we might find someone else, other than our spouse, attractive.
Collaborative law is a form of alternative dispute resolution for divorcing couples who prefer not to endure litigation, but desire vigorous legal representation. One of the first issues of concern for every potential Collaborative Law client is whether the attorney will serve as a strong advocate for that client.
My collaborative cases are generally very satisfying. As I experience each collaborative case, I think about the elements that make it so different from a conventional divorce case. There is a sense that the participants (attorneys, clients, process coach, financial neutral) are working together to solve a puzzle in the most creative way possible.
There is definitely something very special about accomplishing a divorce through Collaborative Practice. This specialness is present for the attorneys, for the clients, and for the other collaborative professionals involved in the process
Most lawyers proudly assert that they are collaborative because they always try to settle their cases. Despite an almost universal wish to resolve conflicts, the intent to settle does not create a collaborative case. In collaborative law, litigation is not the last resort - it’s never an option. Even the threat of litigation is forbidden.
Now with collaborative practice growing in the U.S, Canada and in many countries around the world, CL is becoming familiar to many people. With high profile cases such as the Roy Disney collaborative divorce, reports in the mass media, and depictions in movies such as Juno, people are learning about CL and visiting CL websites.
At some point during a divorce process, everyone meets -- there is a four-way meeting of the divorcing parties and their attorneys. In a litigated case, the first in-person four-way meeting might be at a court hearing on a motion, or at the pre-trial conference with the judge.
Most of the work of a lawyer is to help a client achieve his or her goals in the most sensible and effective way, and at the least cost - financial and otherwise. We attorneys are trained as problem-solvers. In interviewing clients, we try to find out all facts which are relevant to a client’s situation and which may lead to a solution.
There are many law firms that limit their family law practice to collaborative divorce. Our firm does not. We offer a full range of services for divorcing people, including collaborative divorce, mediation and litigation advocacy, including trials in all court in Massachusetts
If it is true that lawyers often do more harm than good (albeit unintentionally, for the most part), it is nowhere more true than in the field of divorce law, which, as it is practiced in the United States, often causes more stress than it cures.
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Divorcing couples in Massachusetts can divide their property on their own, or they can leave it up to the court, who will divide all the property equitably. When dividing marital property, courts consider such factors as the length of the marriage, the conduct of the spouses, the occupation and income of the spouses, their employability and the opportunity for each spouse to acquire property in the future.
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