Collaborative Divorce is a process in which a couple resolves their dispute respectfully and without going to Court. Participants in this process work directly with trained lawyers and professionals. This team approach offers each participant the support, protection and guidance by their own lawyers and neutral experts. In Washington State, we typically provide our clients with an inter-disciplinary team of professionals. This provides parties the benefit of financial and child specialists, divorce coaches and other trained professionals, each of whom bring their unique skills and experiences to assist a couple in resolving their divorce related issues in a safe, confidential setting. Each party identifies his or her individual needs, interests and concerns and, with the help of their collaborative team, they are able to arrive at a solution which will allow both individuals, and their entire family, to move forward in a post-divorce life that is peaceful and effective.
In Collaborative Practice, there are several core elements which form the collaborative team’s contractual commitments. These core components include:
- Negotiating a mutually acceptable settlement without having judges decide the issues that are most important to parties.
- Maintaining open communication and information sharing.
- Creating shared solutions acknowledging the highest priorities of all.
Mediation is process in which a couple resolves their disputes with the assistance of a neutral professional who is committed to helping the couple through any areas of impasse or disagreement. The mediator’s role is to provide a safe, confidential environment and to assist each person to effectively communicate their needs and interests so a solution can be reached that works for both parties.
Mediators do not represent either party. My role as a mediator is help a couple identify the issues necessary for resolution in their divorce. I help facilitate effective dialog so both parties hear each other’s concerns and interests and arrive at a solution that will help each person meet their long term goals. I make sure that all legal issues which must be resolved as part of a divorce are addressed, and I provide the framework for helping a couple move through their divorce process in a timely way.
Most people who use a mediator find that their costs are significantly less than other processes. Typically each person would have an attorney available to consult with and to assist with the drafting of the legal documents. However, because the scope of their attorneys’ work is limited, the legal fees are usually a fraction of those they might incur in other processes.
Coaching and Legal Consultation services are often all that a person needs. Legal Coaching, or Limited Legal Services Representation, is based on the needs and circumstances of the client. It can encompass assistance such as document review, assisting a client with the Court process and helping a client who is participating in mediation or other forms of dispute resolution. I am happy to provide advice, paperwork preparation, help a client through the Court system, negotiation, legal research and other services which clients may need.
Knowledge, Empowerment, Involvement
Together, we will discuss the various options, to determine which approach would be best for you. My clients are fully involved and informed each step of the way from the start of the case until the final papers have been entered.
I believe that the practice of law involves a cooperative relationship between the lawyer and the client. I place a very high priority on ensuring that my clients are fully and timely informed of all issues relating to their case. I work hard to be very responsive and available to my clients.
Finally, I believe that strong and effective representation of my clients includes compassion, understanding and honesty. I involve my clients as much as possible and each client is fully engaged in every step of the process.