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 involved in a litigated dispute. For this reason, many people choose to work out settlements on their own (often called the “kitchen table” approach), and then bring that settlement to an attorney to put into a formalized legal agreement. In addition, some people look for mediated solutions. Still other people want something similar to collaborative, but do not require a full-blown collaborative divorce. I will handle all of those cases – just none that end up in the courtroom.
You won’t represent a party unless the spouse has another attorney in your group? That is a great question, but the answer is also “no”. The spouse is free to choose any attorney they want, either within my referral network or otherwise. We recommend that the spouse choose an attorney within our network because we can be sure that no lawsuit will be filed that way. However, the opposing spouse is free to choose any other family law attorney to represent them.
Your clients won’t be using mediators? That is an inaccurate statement. Mediation will be part of my practice, but not the only option. Mediation is a great tool for certain clients to use when they can’t come to an agreement on several issues in their case. I will either conduct the mediations myself or refer the clients to outside mediators.
Will you still be doing divorce assessments? For now, the answer to this question is yes. However, the partipating attorneys at Separating Together also offer an “orientation” that both spouses can attend that will layout the different options for settlement – without going into the facts of the case. For more information on this option, please visit the Separating Together website.
Will you write up Separation Agreements from a mediated Memorandum of Understanding? Absolutely! Uncontested separation agreements are and will remain a vital part of my practice.