Collaborative Law & Alternative Dispute Resolution
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) encourages the parties to engage in creative problem-solving in order to reach a settlement instead of litigating their case in court. ADR is typically less stressful, less time-consuming, and less expensive than litigation. ADR also offers a much greater chance of obtaining a “win-win” outcome than litigation. This is essential in those cases where the parties want or need to preserve their relationship (for example, if they need to continue to co-parent their children) or want to produce a mutually satisfactory outcome.
Forms of ADR include negotiation, mediation, settlement conferences, and collaborative divorce (also known as collaborative law). Arbitration also is a form of ADR although it has some similarities to litigation.
Collaborative divorce–or “collaborative law” as it often is referred to–is a form of ADR that was developed in the late 1980’s in Minnesota. Since then the practice has spread to all 50 states as well as to other countries including Canada, England, Ireland, and Australia.
The primary goal of the collaborative law process is to settle outstanding issues in a non-adversarial manner. This process aims to minimize, if not eliminate, the negative economic, social, and emotional consequences of protracted litigation on spouses and their children.
Some of the principles of collaborative divorce are as follows:
- The parties to a legal action and their attorneys agree not to seek resolution through litigation, and instead, agree to resolve their action in a non-threatening, respectful, non-adversarial manner.
- The parties and their attorneys agree to act in good faith and agree to focus on needs and interests rather than positions.
- The parties and their attorneys work as a team to craft a settlement that both parties feel is fair and equitable to themselves and each other.
- The parties and their attorneys may agree to engage other collaborative professionals such as a child specialist, divorce coach, and/or a financial specialist–all of whom are trained to help support the parties in their collaborative divorce.
How Does Collaborative Divorce Work?
A collaborative divorce is done in a series of meetings that focus on identifying and prioritizing issues to be discussed, exchanging relevant information, generating options, problem-solving, and ultimately reaching resolution and a full settlement of the divorce.
Experienced Assistance in Collaborative Divorce
In collaborative divorce, the key to success is the willingness of all parties and their attorneys to commit to the process. Ken Levey has met the stringent standards involving additional training in collaborative practice. To learn if collaborative practice offers an appropriate solution to your family law dispute, please call us.
We are experienced in all forms of ADR and will work with you to determine which method best suits your needs.