Not Every Domestic Relations Matter Should Be Solved Through Litigation Or Mediation
Collaborative law provides a unique and effective venue for couples seeking a less litigious and generally therapeutic form of dispute resolution. As taken from the Massachusetts Collaborative Law Council’s website, “Collaborative lawyers, financial professionals and professional coaches use principles of alternative dispute resolution and other mediation resources to resolve disputes efficiently, respectfully, and with the purpose of maintaining and often enhancing ongoing necessary relationships.”
What Is Collaborative Law?
In collaborative law, parties agree to resolve their disputes outside of court. They begin the process by setting common goals, which they refer back to throughout collaboration. The parties use joint experts (financial planners, appraisers and even therapists) to obtain and provide the information both parties need in order to make informed offers of settlement. If the parties cannot resolve their matter, they must begin from scratch with new counsel and new experts. This incentive, along with the various tools and resources available to couples, creates a more open atmosphere that lends itself to faster and ultimately stronger resolution.
How Is Collaborative Law Different Than Mediation?
Collaborative law differs from mediation in that both parties are represented by attorneys experienced in conflict resolution who work together, with the parties, to reach an equitable and fair agreement. As each party is represented, they are advised fully of their rights and are given the opportunity to speak privately with counsel. In contrast, mediation usually involves one attorney assisting both parties in reaching an agreement. As they cannot represent either party, a mediator cannot speak privately with either party. However, mediation is an excellent alternative for couples with lower incomes or those who have already spoken individually to counsel.
As co-chair of the Worcester County Collaborative Law Practice Group, attorney Wons is experienced in collaborative law and welcomes the opportunity to discuss its many advantages further.