We can help with: marriage contracts, cohabitation contracts, separation agreements, divorce, custody/access, child/spousal support, dividing property and adoption. We are called upon most often to help with separation and divorce cases. If you need help in negotiating and resolving a family law case, we offer you six options:Roadmap to Success (pdf)
Helping You Solve It
You and your spouse determine how to resolve the issues of your separation or divorce, by direct negotiations. We can advise you on the law and encourage your spouse to seek their own lawyer for independent advice. You will report on your decisions to us and we will prepare a formal separation agreement. We may need to fine-tune your agreement to ensure it will stand up in a court of law.
Lawyer to Lawyer Negotiation
Our office and your spouse’s lawyer will negotiate the terms of your separation or divorce. This option may involve court litigation. It does not have to. For most of our clients, we are able to assist them to reach a mutually acceptable agreement without the cost of court.
In this process, you, your spouse and the mediator meet to resolve your separation. We can address all of the issues. Mediation allows you to take control of your own issues and to participate in designing workable outcomes in a neutral setting. Mediation offers a low-cost resolution to your case with the satisfaction that you have a voice in your own destiny. Mediation is often fast, too. In many cases, the entire process may be scheduled within 48 hours of your contact to our law offices and a settlement may be reached in a two or three hour session. Both yourself and your spouse need to contact us if you’d like us to mediate, and you would each need own lawyer for legal advice at the end.
Collaborative Family Law
Similar to mediation, Collaborative Family Law assumes that you participate in achieving a resolution to your dispute. However, Collaborative Family Law goes beyond mediation, by creating a contract which sets out the terms of how the dispute will be negotiated. This ensures that negotiations are handled in a safe, formal, civil, and respectful manner. It involves three key components; a pledge not to go to court; an honest exchange of information; and a promise to take into account both spouses and their children.
This form of negotiation is the most costly of all methods. It involves the preparation, signature and service of documentation, attendances at the Court House (and not always the one closest to you), travel time, time away from work/children. Each spouse tells his or her story to their lawyer, a court action is instituted, court required conferences are held, offers to settle exchanged and then attendance in court, if settlement is not to be.
This method of negotiation, in its simplest terms, allows someone other than you and your spouse to decide how money is to be divided, custody of children is to be decided, the amount of child and spousal support to be paid and the division of your family properties. It is not the optimal process to end a marriage, but unfortunately it is sometimes necessary.
A private alternative to court, arbitration is a process where each side tells his or her side of the dispute to an arbitrator and asks for a specific decision. We can help arrange for an arbitrator, and represent you during the arbitration process. In essence, it’s like hiring a private judge to settle your case. The results are the same as a court order.
What is collaborative divorce?
Collaborative Practice is a way for a divorcing couple to work with a team of trained professionals to resolve disputes respectfully, without going to court. Collaborative Practice has three key elements:
The voluntary and free exchange of information.
For Collaborative Law to work, both parties must enter into discussions committed to coming to an amicable resolution. For this to happen, transparency is key.
The pledge not to go to court
Court is very expensive and in our experience, does not resolve issues as effectively as Collaborative Law.
Commitment to resolutions that respect the parties goals
In a successful Collaborative Law case, both parties will come away feeling that their goals have been met, in a respectful manner.