Collaborative Law

Mom with Breast Cancer loses Custody of kids

A Mom in Durham, NC recently lost custody of her children because she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  In an extremely sad case, and yet another shining example of why collaborative law is such a promising tool for resolving family law conflicts, Alaina Giordano has lost custody of her two children because of a terminal breast cancer diagnosis. Judge Nancy Gordon gave custody of the children to Ms. Giordano’s abusive husband who now resides in Chicago in part because “the course of [Ms. Giordano’s] disease is unknown, and “children who have a parent with cancer need more contact with the […]

Divorce and kids around the holidays… Ugh…

The Holidays are hard enough for those of us that aren’t divorced.  Figuring out which relatives you are going to see when, packing the car, getting the dogs to the kennel, coordinating the cat sitter, driving across the country to visit family…. and the list goes on and on.  And I’m not divorced.  It’s enough to give you a headache. I can only imagine the stress and frustration that must befall one of my clients that has to do all this, and then execute an agreed-upon visitation schedule so that they can see their children in addition.  What if the […]

5 Raleigh Divorce Lawyers join Separating Together

I guess these things aren’t quite official until there is a press release about it.  Just announced – myself and four other Raleigh Divorce Lawyers have joined Separating Together, a Collaborative Family Law Practice Group in Raleigh, North Carolina. All of us have pledged to restrict our law practices to resolving family law matters without involving the courts.  According to the press release, “The attorneys guide both high and low conflict clients towards mutually beneficial agreements through the practice of non-adversarial, transformative conflict resolution and settlement negotiation, including collaborative divorce and mediation; thus, separation and divorce agreements are achieved with […]

Getting a divorce in North Carolina: Some Pitfalls

North Carolina has some wacky laws when it comes to divorce.  They are not always intuitive, and sometimes they are downright unfair.  One such example is a rule called the “McClean Presumption“.  This rule deals with Equitable distribution in North Carolina, and the treatment of marital and separate real property (also known as land) and their treatment as “joint interspousal gifts“joint interspousal gifts. Here’s an example: Lets say that you own a house that you purchased before you were married.  You worked hard and paid off your mortgage, and now the home is worth $,000.  You get married and you […]

Questions about a Collaborative Divorce Practice

In response to my most recent blog post, I’ve received some questions about what taking my family law practice 100% Collaborative means for the remainder of my practice…  Here are some of the questions I’ve received and my responses: Does this mean that you’ll only do collaborative divorces? Actually, No.  It only means that I won’t be litigating anymore family law cases as of the end of 2010.  There are lots of family law cases that are not actually litigated, for a variety of reasons.  Many people do not wish to litigate because of the stress, cost, time, or uncertainty […]

I’m all in with Collaborative Divorce

Yesterday I conducted a collaborative divorce conference at the Separating Together offices in Raleigh.  What began as an extremely emotional, divisive, and potentially explosive divorce, is now beginning to steer its way towards final resolution.  This would have been one of those cases where a typical litigation attorney would have proclaimed loudly, “collaborative divorce will never work for that couple…” but we have proven the naysayers wrong once again. I anticipate that this is going to be happening quite a bit during the coming months and years, as more people leave their divorce behind knowing that they did what was […]

Why Collaborative Divorce Works

One of my biggest pet-peeves is when another lawyer tells me that Collaborative Divorce won’t work. Don’t tell that to Cat J. Zavis.  Cat presented a seminar that I attended this past week on how Non-Violent Communication can help resolve Family Law Cases, including Collaborative Divorces. The seminar was organized by Mark Springfield, a fellow Collaborative Divorce Lawyer and colleague of mine at Separating Together in Raleigh. I can certainly understand how most lawyers that haven’t been trained in collaborative law would be skeptical that a process that doesn’t have a judicial decision hanging over the heads of the parties […]

How does Collaborative Divorce work?

Many people still don’t understand exactly how collaborative divorce works – here is a brief rundown of the process. Both parties start by selecting a collaborative lawyer to assist them in their case.  This is probably the most important step, and one that many people fail to get past.  The key here is that both parties must hire collaborative lawyers.  If either party hires someone that says they do collaborative, but is prone to litigation instead, then the whole process will derail.  How do you know whether you have a collaborative lawyer?  You can start by asking them whether they […]

Collaborative Divorce is great for the kids

I came across a great article today that illustrates just why collaborative divorce can be such a great thing for the children of divorce. The article profiles a family from Rochester, New York that is going through a collaborative divorce with children – successfully. On anther note – I was forced to go to court this past week for one of my last litigation cases, and if I ever thought that I might continue litigating family law matters, this case put that idea to rest.  Here are a couple of reasons why: Collaborative Divorce is much better for the kids […]

What is the true “cost” of divorce in Cary?

I came across a podcast today by a divorce lawyer in Boston, Massachusetts who discussed the “cost” of getting divorced.  Here are some of the questions he was asked, with my answers. You hear in the news about couples staying together simply because the cost of divorce is too high. What makes getting a divorce expensive? Forgetting about the physical and mental stress that is involved in getting a divorce – which is a cost that people don’t often think about – the true “cost” of a divorce depends on how much time the attorneys spending working on the file.  […]