Mediation and Collaborative Law Process
Not every dispute needs to end up in a difficult litigation process. Sometimes, the parties are willing to settle their differences in good faith but need professional legal help in doing so. In such circumstances there exist several alternatives. We refer to “divorce”, but most of the information below refers equally to separation, dissolution of civil union, or other family disputes.
Not every dispute needs to
end up in a difficult litigation
Collaborative law is a relatively new type of process where the parties can each be assisted by their attorneys who jointly engage financial specialists so as to settle the divorce or other family disputes in a non-confrontational, non-antagonistic manner. The lawyers and the parties will agree together on what third-party professionals to engage, and these will assist them in finding solutions to their impasses and resolving the dissolution of the couple.
This process is entirely voluntary and can only work if both parties and the attorneys are truly motivated to reduce the conflict. Qualified attorneys have undergone specialized training in collaborative law and can guide the parties through a process that will hopefully be quicker, less costly, and most importantly, less emotionally taxing. In a proper collaborative law process, the attorneys sign an undertaking to not represent their clients in litigation should the process fail. This important formality helps to motivate the professionals to commit fully to the collaborative law process.
Although our attorneys are highly skilled in litigating difficult cases, we are only too pleased to offer collaborative law services whenever such is possible. If you are interested in the collaborative law process, please call our office to arrange for a consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys.
Where both parties are willing to collaborate in good faith, mediation can be a viable and lower cost alternative to litigation. This process consists of sitting through multiple sessions with a mediator who helps the parties come to an acceptable compromise to their dispute. The benefits of mediation are that, when done in good faith, it can be much less costly and much quicker than a full litigation.
Even in the best of cases, parties are advised to each have their own attorneys whom they consult with before and after each mediation session so as to be sure that their interests are not being overlooked. Every good mediator will insist that each party consult their own attorneys independently. The draw-back of mediation is that it can only work when the parties are of good faith. When one party is a bully and seeks to assert themselves over the other, mediation can be a very traumatic experience and will only add to the expense and delay. This is another reason to make sure that each party has their own attorney whom they can consult with and who can confirm if the mediation has devolved into an abusive process.
As part of our duty to do our best for our clients, we are obligated to discuss with them the possibility of resolving their dispute through the process of mediation, and we are very pleased to do so. Our own attorneys are litigation attorneys. We represent the best interests of our own clients. We will refer you to highly qualified mediators if you feel that there is hope of resolving your case through such a process. We know who the best mediators are. We will be there to assist in preparing for the mediation and analyzing the progress of the mediation after each session. If the mediation process should breakdown for any reason, our attorneys will be well-prepared and already informed so as to quickly and efficiently take up your defense and represent you to the full and proper extent of your rights.
Aside from the collaborative law process and a formal mediation, there exist a few types of amicable divorces. Two common examples are uncontested divorces and joint divorces. Please note that this information below refers equally to separation, dissolution of civil union, or other family disputes.
An uncontested divorce is one of the least costly and quickest manners in which to obtain a divorce or separation. In an uncontested divorce, one party, the “plaintiff” or “applicant” initiates the proceedings. If the other party does not contest the demands, then a judgment will usually be granted. In the alternative, and even more preferable, the two parties can sign a “divorce agreement” indicating their agreement to all of the details stipulated.
At Kalman Samuels, Attorneys, we strive to obtain uncontested divorces whenever possible. If the desires of the parties are not so far removed and cost is an important factor, then this procedure becomes a very viable option. By guiding and encouraging our clients in making very reasonable requests, we have a high rate of success in obtaining uncontested divorces. We are very proud of the divorce agreements that we draft, produce and have accepted by the courts.
If you believe that your spouse will be able to agree to very reasonable demands, then please call our office to request a consultation and mention the hope that you can obtain an uncontested divorce or separation.
A joint divorce or separation occurs where both parties file an application together, or are represented by the same lawyer who files the application for the two of them. This can only occur when both parties fully agree on every aspect of the divorce or separation. If there is any disagreement, then the application cannot be joint. If the parties start out hiring one attorney together, but then fall into disagreement, that attorney can then no longer represent either party against the other. To do so would be a conflict of interest.
The lawyers at Kalman Samuels, Attorneys are partisan attorneys. We represent the best interests of our clients. For this reason, we generally prefer to aim for an uncontested divorce rather than a joint divorce. This way, if a dispute arises, we do not have to withdraw from a case. This is not an absolute rule. If you and your ex-partner have become best friends since breaking up, and you walk in to our office practically holding hands and joking and laughing together, and you have already agreed on all the issues, we will of course be overjoyed to help formalize the dissolution of your union by applying for a joint divorce. Under any other circumstances, we will probably recommend a different alternative, such as an uncontested divorce. Please call our office to schedule a consultation so that we can best advise you.