The Role of ADR in a Collaborative Divorce

A collaborative divorce is one that seeks to end a marriage in the most amiable and holistic way possible.  It requires that parties go beyond their issues and emotions and give way to what is best for all involved, especially if children are involved. Both sides will be represented by an attorney and the goals of the attorneys are not to walk clients through the litigation process, but instead to assist the parties in avoiding litigation by resolving all issues of the marriage.  In fact any attorney that agree to represent the parties must sign a participation agreement that states if the parties are unable to reach a settlement that the attorneys will withdraw from the case and not participate in any proceedings or litigation that occur.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Alternative dispute resolution is a number of techniques used to bring about resolution of a legal dispute without the customary route of going to trial.  The two most common modes of ADR are mediation and arbitration.    Alternative dispute resolution is a way to avoid the time, expenses, and headaches of civil litigation.  Most courts now present ADR to parties as an option before proceeding with trial to encourage settlement.

ADR and Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative divorces are basically built on the foundation of alternative dispute resolution in that he parties agree to do their very best to resolve the issues of the marriage via meaningful participation in the mediation and negotiation process.  Parties agree that any experts brought in will be neutral and that each side will do its best to ensure that the negotiations remain neutral and fair.   The third parties involved to the highest extent will be the attorneys who should be skilled in thinking outside of the box and drafting creative marital settlement agreements that speak to the needs and concerns of the parties and their children. 

Seeking Legal Help

Attorneys play a crucial role in collaborative divorce.  Per the participation agreement, they work to assist the parties in reaching an amicable agreement.  Lawyers that have experience with family law and more specifically with collaborative divorce are invaluable throughout the entire process. Since collaborative divorces are not suitable for every dissolution of marriage situation, it is imperative that you consult with an attorney o determine if this is the best route for your particular situation.

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