Family Law – Collaboration/Mediation – Collaborative law and other ADR
With vast experience in various courts throughout Pennsylvania, we understand the damage that a public hearing can have on the people that you care about most. That’s why we often promote and work with various dispute resolution methods outside of the courts in a wide range of family law matters.One of the more flexible methods involves collaborative divorce. A form of interest-based negotiation, it shifts the decision making power from a judge to the parties involved, allowing them to take a team approach to reaching a mutually acceptable settlement. Because it occurs outside of the courtroom, collaborative divorce offers more personalized and creative solutions that address individual needs and concerns, is more time efficient and organized, and builds skills and resources for life post-divorce.The collaborative law process, which consists of a series of two-hour sessions scheduled two–three weeks apart, can be used for any type of family law matter. It encompasses a team that includes each party’s collaboratively trained attorney, but may also consist of other neutral professionals such as a certified public accountant, a financial advisor, a mental health professional and/or a child specialist. By committing to settling the case outside of court, this process ensures no court appearances, no cross examinations nor involvement of children in public hearings. Both the parties involved and any professionals make this commitment by signing a legal contract affirming that no action will be taken in court. If either party elects to terminate the collaborative process, however, the parties’ respective attorneys may not be used in any future litigation to ensure each team member’s commitment to the process.
While you may not have control over many things in life, you do have control over the divorce strategy you choose. The collaborative process affords a private separation/settlement, the topic selection and order to be set by involved parties, and resolutions based upon mutual interests—all things that lessen the impact on your family.
Aside from collaborative divorce, other forms of dispute resolution offered by Burns White include: