Early in the divorce process your spouse may have difficulty hearing and accepting your ideas regarding divorce. However, knowledge usually leads to an acceptance of either the mediation or collaborative divorce process. Most couples want to reduce costs, maintain control and minimize conflict. If children are involved, they care deeply about protecting them and being able to co-parent after the divorce. Please refer to the News and Articles References and sections of this website for some materials that may help your spouse become educated about the processes of mediation and collaborative divorce. A consultation with me can provide additional information you and your spouse may need to make a decision that is right for your family.
You do not need to pay a retainer in divorce mediation. You are charged an hourly rate that is due at the end of each session. The total cost will depend on the couple’s ability to work together to come to an agreement. Collaborative Divorce will usually require a retainer, depending on the complexity of your case. Both processes typically will save you money as compared with a traditional, adversarial divorce.
A non-adversarial divorce method, such as mediation or collaborative divorce, is appropriate for most people who are divorcing. Most marriages have conflicts and communication issues that have contributed to the impending divorce. Usually these issues do not prevent an amicable divorce. The mediators and collaborative attorneys are skilled in helping couples negotiate despite these types of issues. What is needed is a commitment to an amicable divorce process and a willingness to be open and forthcoming.
Divorce mediation and collaborative divorce may not be appropriate in cases of domestic violence, active substance abuse and significant mental illness. Consult with a mediator or collaborative attorney if you have any questions about the suitability of mediation in your situation.
Divorce Mediation can be used successfully to resolve divorce, post-divorce and pre-marital issues, including the creation of pre-nuptial agreements. In addition, mediators can help families address step parenting and blended family concerns as well as problems between adults and their children and parents and grandparents. Mediation is effective in resolving a wide range of disagreements.
Divorce mediation is a forward-looking process that allows a couple to resolve all of the issues of their divorce according to their own goals and sense of fairness. I meet with the two spouses together for two hour sessions over a period of weeks at which time we outline the issues to be resolved, gather all the necessary information, brainstorm about possible options and reach consensus on solutions. In mediation, there are no winners or losers. Instead, mediation encourages solutions that are fair and reasonable for each member of the family.
As an attorney mediator, I will help you to complete and file the paperwork required by the court system to initiate your divorce under Connecticut law. During the mediation process, I will answer your questions about the legal implications of certain decisions while maintaining my neutrality, which means without giving you legal advice. After you have resolved all of the issues to be considered, I will draft an agreement that incorporates all of the decisions you have reached and I will review it with you carefully. I will also prepare all of the ancillary documents that Connecticut law requires to dissolve your marriage and attend your dissolution hearing before the Superior Court.
Collaborative Divorce is a process in which an attorney represents each spouse but in a very different way than in a conventional divorce. In a conventional divorce, the court system is used to resolve disputes. This places the spouses in the position of being adversaries, each fighting for the best personal result. Divorce becomes a source of increasing conflict. The resulting emotional turmoil is often devastating to the couple and to their children. Collaborative Divorce is non-adversarial. The attorneys agree in writing that they will not go to court. Instead, the attorneys work with the couple to reach a mutually satisfactory settlement without court intervention. In addition, the parties freely and openly exchange information and are committed to discovering and respecting their individual and shared goals. These working principles reducesthe emotional strain on all involved.
Throughout the divorce process there is open communication between the spouses and both attorneys. In fact, much of the work of the divorce is accomplished through 4-way meetings between the two spouses and both attorneys. This approach is much more efficient than the traditional method of the 2-way client-attorney meeting that is invariably followed by phone calls and written correspondence between the attorneys.
Often in Collaborative Divorce, the attorneys will incorporate additional professionals into the process. These may include mental health professionals and financial advisors performing the functions described below:
• Coaches are specially trained mental health professionals who help the parties understand and overcome any emotional obstacles to effective divorce negotiations. They will meet with the parties individually or jointly with both spouses, as the situation requires.
• Financial Specialists are neutral third party financial professionals with specific expertise in the financial aspects of divorce. They help the divorcing couple gather and analyze their financial data and advise the couple on which of the various financial scenarios will most benefit them.
• Child Specialists, as the name implies, are mental health professionals who have expertise in working with children. They help a divorcing couple examine how their decisions will affect the needs of their children.
Collaborative Divorce helps protect the interests of all family members, especially the children. It is an excellent option for couples seeking an alternative to the traditional adversarial divorce but who are not comfortable with mediation and the self-advocacy component inherent in the mediation process.
Self determination – The mediators will provide an impartial and non-judgmental atmosphere for the negotiation process. They will support the parties and help them clarify their needs. However, the parties remain in control of the process. The decisions will be their own. A judge will not make decisions for the couple or their family.
Improved communication – In mediation the parties will be working together to decide issues for their family. Individuals learn that they can develop a working relationship with their spouse despite the hurt and anger that can be part of the divorce process. These skills can be used after the divorce in vital areas such as co-parenting.
Creativity – The couple is best qualified to know the needs and goals of all members of the family. As a result, they are in the best position to decide what will work for the family. Mediation encourages the couple to search for unique solutions that will address the needs of the family members.
Confidentiality – Negotiations are conducted in the privacy of the mediators’ office instead of open court.
Savings in time and money – Mediated cases are almost always faster and less costly than litigated cases. There are no depositions or court hearings which saves the parties both time and money.