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More families turning to collaborative law in divorce

Alternative dispute resolution is an area of law that refers to the use of alternatives to the traditional process of law as a method for resolving complex legal issues. Such alternatives are used in everything from intricate business dealings and financial matters to family law disputes and landlord/tenant conflicts. The following is about the use of one particular form of alternative dispute resolution, collaborative law, to resolve complex family law matters.

There are a multitude of reasons that couples choose to utilize collaborative law in family law disputes. However, the primary reason is the belief that collaborative law tends to be less adversarial than the traditional approach. While collaborative law may not be right for every divorce, and for every couple, for those couples that do choose to apply this approach, the success and the outcomes tend to far exceed the expectations of the parties involved.

In every collaborative divorce, each party must first hire counsel to represent them during the process. After the parties hire counsel, all parties then sign an agreement to utilize the collaborative process. As part of this agreement, the two parties agree that should the collaborative process break down at any point, the parties can proceed in traditional court. However, the parties cannot do so with the assistance of their collaborative law counsel.

Unlike traditional litigation, the collaborative process is more comparable to transactional law. Attorneys in the collaborative practice function more like agents in a negotiation than they do as litigators. In fact, this is one of the key features that many participants of the collaborative process enjoy.

Source: WLTX, "Collaborative Divorce Offers Options To Court Battles," Maura Ammenheuser, March 21, 2013.

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