YOU HAVE OPTIONS
Many cases do not require the pressure of court-imposed deadlines or threats of public disclosure of personal and sensitive family issues. There are alternatives available to help you reach a private, peaceful resolution that meets the actual needs of you and your family. The process you choose for your case will have an impact on your future relationships. It is important to choose the right process for you.
Litigation is the traditional court-centered process. It is the most appropriate option when there are issues of active abuse or imminent financial risk or for situations in which the parties have a highly-conflicted relationship, difficult communication or have reached an impasse in their attempts at cooperative problem solving. It is also appropriate if a case presents new issues of law, and justice requires court oversight or involvement. It provides the least degree of control and autonomy over the outcome since clients defer the ultimate decisions to a judge. It is frequently the most expensive process, both financially and emotionally.
Mediation is a process where a neutral third party listens to the dispute and assists the clients in reaching an agreement. This process works best with people who feel they are on equal footing to bargain with each other, and where the issues are relatively discrete and uncomplicated. This method of dispute resolution offers a high degree of control and is very economical. Mediators, however, cannot give legal advice. A lawyer may serve as a mediator with both client’s consent and understanding that the lawyer is acting as mediator and does not represent either party. We provide neutral, evaluative mediation services and can help clients reach an agreement which can then be reviewed by independent counsel, or we can prepare the documents for filing with the court.
With a focus on cooperative and creative problem solving, Collaborative Practice is a peaceful, non-adversarial approach to the dispute resolution process. Clients, with the help of their attorneys and a mental health professional, negotiate resolutions in tightly structured five-way meetings that help facilitate the separation process. The Collaborative Practice model allows clients an opportunity to resolve their issues in a way that is designed to maintain the integrity, mutual respect, honor and dignity of all parties. It is an interest-driven process where all the needs of the parties are taken into consideration. It involves open communication and information sharing. It provides a high degree of control and autonomy over both the process and the outcome. It is not for everyone. There is a disqualification clause that Nanci will discuss with you. The cost varies depending on the particular circumstances of the case but it is certainly less expensive than traditional litigation both financially and emotionally.