August 30

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Staying Out Of Court: Mediation and Collaborative Law

By Robert Buchanan

August 30, 2017


Not every divorce has to be settled in a courtroom. Not every divorce has to be a win-lose or a lose-lose. Actually, most divorces can be a win-win. It’s true. With the proper representation and assistance, you can end your marriage amicable and fairly.

Sure, there will be hiccups. This is an emotional process after all. But that doesn’t mean that you and your spouse have to go twelve rounds fighting about who will keep that lovely rug you bought while vacationing in Istanbul. Haven’t you both stepped on each other enough?

So what’s the alternative? Mediation or Collaborative Divorce. Mediation describes a specific technique to resolving a dispute while Collaborative Divorce is a comprehensive approach to resolving a dissolution of marriage case.

How the mediation process works: The first stage of case where mediation will be utilized is fact gathering. In order to negotiate and compromise effectively, both parties have to be on the same page regarding all the relevant facts, including the financial circumstances of the parties. That is, there are no secrets. Everybody knows who is making what, how much is in each bank account, the value of retirement accounts, and the location/value of all other assets.

If the parties are mediating custody, relevant information will include, the living situation of each party, the relationship status of each party, and the short and long term goals of each party regarding raising the children.

Once this information is on the table, the lawyers for each party will settle on a mediator. A mediator is a neutral third-party who is trained in resolving conflicts through an open conversation that identifies the core interests of the parties.

A typical mediation session will last a couple hours and will involve meeting with the mediator one-on-one, or with the mediator and your spouse. The mediator will help the parties find common ground, will identify the areas where the biggest disagreements exist, and will identify areas of possible compromise. Through a process of give and take, the mediator will guide the parties a compromised solution that is win-win for all involved.

Collaborative Divorce incorporates the mediation approach with the help of other professionals. In a typical Collaborative Divorce, the parties will also be assisted by financial advisor and mental health specialist. The financial advisor can be a key player in helping the parties find practical solutions to financial issues, while the mental health specialist can help the parties see through emotion stumbling blocks that are holding up reasonable compromise.

Whatever your desired approach, it is helpful to the perspective of a seasoned divorce attorney. Call us anytime to talk about what your options may be. 312-757-4833

Robert Buchanan

About the author

Robert Buchanan is the founder and manager of The Law Office of Robert B. Buchanan.

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