Divorce Mediation

There are alternatives to a messy and expensive divorce.

MEDIATION. Through the course of a few sessions with a Marital Mediator, you and your spouse, rather than a court, will determine the terms of your divorce. In doing so you:

* Control the process yourselves
* Preserve family finances
* Create a positive outlook for the future
* Gain a more peaceful transition for the family

Mediation is flexible and confidential. It gives you and your spouse a way to settle the conflict between you, which is natural and inevitable, in a way that helps you to work together as parents after your divorce. The mediator remains neutral, can't give advice or act as a lawyer to either party. What the mediator can do, though, is point out to both spouses in open session things that each of them should be aware of about what they are trying to accomplish. That open and free exchange of information frees up both spouses to negotiate with each other in confidence. You can use your lawyer as an advisor between sessions and/or to review the final agreement.

People often ask, "Does mediation really work?" In a word, yes. We know from years of research that when you compare couples who have mediated their divorce with couples who go through an adversarial divorce, mediating couples are more likely to be satisfied with the process and the results, likely to take less time and spend less money, and are less likely to go back to court later to fight about something.

At Howie Law Office we have two attorneys board certified as Marital Mediators. No case is too complex or contentious. You can avoid the difficult, emotional and time-consuming process of litigation through Mediation.

COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE Another alternative to divorce litigation is Collaborative Divorce. Collaborative Law is an alternative dispute resolution technique for resolving conflicts and reaching agreements using cooperative strategies rather than adversarial techniques and litigation. It recognizes the need for each party to have an attorney, but avoids the involvement of the Court. Therefore, the parties avoid the difficult, emotional and time-consuming process of litigation. The idea is that the parties willingly cooperate in the disclosure of information, consultation of experts and evaluation of assets.

The difference between the collaborative law approach and the common cooperative settlement approach is that the parties and their attorneys begin the process with a collaborative agreement. All four parties (the two parties and the two lawyers) agree at the beginning that they will not seek the Court's assistance or involvement unless all possible attempts have been made to negotiate resolution of the case. During the collaborative process, both parties and their attorneys meet together for informal talks and information sharing. The parties and their attorneys continue to schedule meetings and plan and discuss the issues to be addressed at each meeting until all issues are resolved. If the parties and their counsel are not able to resolve all issues during the collaborative process, the process ends. At that time, both parties must retain new attorneys, as their collaborative attorneys are not permitted to handle the litigation. With this approach, both parties and their attorneys understand from the beginning that there is no advantage to taking an unreasonable position, requiring litigation in the Court. Both parties have an equal disadvantage as they must both retain new lawyers.

This information provided herein is for general purposes only and does not to purport to give specific advice on individual matters. If you would like advice on your individual case, call Attorney Diane M. Gaspar or Attorney Mary Howie at (603) 893-8008.