Litigation is the traditional legal process where both parties hire an attorney who represent positions of the clients through negotiation. The parties communicate through their attorneys. In the end, if an agreement is not reached, the parties and other witnesses testify before a judge who will make a decision on each issue presented. As a side note, the statistics show that about 95% of all divorces are resolved before going to trial.
In mediation, the separating parties hire a trained family law mediator as a neutral party to guide them in facilitating communication and reaching mutual agreements with minimal conflict. There is utmost importance given to client education, balancing power and creative solutions. Mediation may occur with parties who have retained lawyers, as well as, with parties who are not represented. The objective of mediation is to assist the parties to reach an agreement which meet the interests and needs of both parties, without the financial or emotional costs of a contested legal proceeding. The parties must still prepare the pleadings or have the pleadings prepared by counsel.
While no divorce proceeding is ever easy, the aim of collaborative divorce is to minimize conflict, particularly when children are involved. In addition to the attorneys of the respective clients, collaborative divorce can also include other concerned professionals, such as financial planners or child psychologists. Collaborative divorce is thus a more holistic process than traditional divorce, which sometimes reduces the parties to mere winners and losers, rather than people with individual needs and concerns.
Beginning a collaborative divorce does not preclude the possibility of a traditional divorce. If the parties in a collaborative divorce are unable to reach a mutually agreeable settlement, they can still choose to begin a traditional divorce proceeding, at which point their attorneys from the collaborative divorce must withdraw. While collaborative divorce will not be ideal for every couple or every situation, it is quickly emerging as a powerful tool for couples who want to reduce the conflicts and costs related to ending their marriage. Couples deciding on divorce attorneys and processes should include collaborative divorce among the choices they consider.
Estate planning is the practice of drafting and signing agreement and contracts that will determine how your assets and debts will be distributed upon your death or in the event you become incapacitated. Three essential documents that should be in everyone’s estate plan, such as a Last Will and Testament, a Living Will and a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care. Additionally, you may want to understand whether a trust would benefit your estate planning needs.