Collaborative divorce and
alternative dispute resolution

Collaborative divorce is an alternative approach to conventional divorce, which reduces hostility, time, and expense. The goal is to resolve differences in a fair and equitable manner without resorting to the threat of litigation in the courts. Collaborative divorce also allows the couple to have control over the outcome of their divorce, instead of leaving the final decision in the hands of the court.

Both parties have to be on board and willing to work through the process. If one party is unwilling to participate in the process, it will not work. The parties each have their own attorney to represent their interests. It is important that each party hire an attorney trained in the collaborative process. Each party will meet with his/her attorney privately to discuss his/her needs and wants. Then the collaborative team is assembled. This team will vary greatly depending upon your family. The team may just be the parties and the attorneys if there are not a lot of assets and no children. The team may include an accountant or a financial planner as a “neutral” to help determine the division of assets in a manner that works for the family. The team may include a child specialist as a “neutral” to help determine time-sharing in a manner that is in the best interests of the child. There are many types of neutral specialists that may be brought into the team, depending on your specific circumstances. The team may meet as a whole, and/or the neutrals may meet individually with the parties for as many meetings as it takes to come up with the marital settlement agreement. The key to the collaborative process working is transparency. The parties must all be in agreement to set aside their differences and discuss their divorce rationally to come up with their own plan, with the advice of counsel, that works for their family. In the long run, parties are often much happier than when a judge makes the decision for them.

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"I want to leave your family in a healthier place than when I found you. Collaborative divorce can help.”

Heather Bryan

Benefits:

  • Reduces stress of litigation

  • Parties control the outcome

  • Privacy

  • A plan/resolution that works for your family

  • Less expensive than litigation

  • Often times the couple learns great communication skills to become great co-parents

alternative dispute resolution

The collaborative method can be used in other types of family cases as well. The same methods apply to paternity cases, modification cases, and contempt/enforcement cases.

If you are facing a family legal issue such as divorce or paternity suit, I’d like to talk to you about the collaborative process to see if it is an option for your family. Please contact us online or call us at (863) 825-5309 for a consultation with Lakeland Family Law Attorney Heather Bryan regarding your rights.