Alternative Conflict Resolution

Family law cases are well-suited for resolution outside of the court system. It is not uncommon for judges in family law matters to order a case into mediation, or for parties to voluntarily agree to mediate or arbitrate their disputes, in an effort to resolve issues short of a court trial.

Mediation and arbitration are forms of alternative conflict/dispute resolution, also called ADR. Mediation is a nonbinding, voluntary process, in which parties jointly hire a neutral third party to assist them in reaching agreements regarding their case. Arbitration is a binding, voluntary process, in which parties jointly hire a neutral third party to make binding decisions about their case. ADR can be more cost-efficient, time-efficient and less adversarial than the traditional court process, and provides more thoughtful resolutions to family law matters.

Collaborative Divorce and Cooperative Divorce are two ADR processes unique to divorce matters. Collaborative Divorce is a client-centered approach to resolving disputes, in which parties have more control and involvement over the process and the decisions affecting their family than within the court system. In Collaborative Divorce, the parties and their collaborative lawyers contractually agree that the case will be settled without court involvement. This process requires a commitment to civility, respectfulness, good faith, cooperation and transparency between parties. In addition, Collaborative Divorce may involve other team members, such as financial advisors and mental health professionals, to assist the parties in reaching resolutions. If either party subsequently decides he or she wishes to have their issues resolved by the court, Collaborative Divorce requires the collaborative lawyers, for both parties, to withdraw from the case. For more information about Collaborative Divorce, contact us or visit www.collabdivorce.com.

Cooperative Divorce is similar to Collaborative Divorce, in that both have a strong focus on civility, respectfulness, good faith, cooperation and transparency in information gathering and negotiation between parties. In Cooperative Divorce, however, litigation and the court system remain as options for resolving disputes, and the parties are able to continue to work with their same lawyers throughout the entirety of the case. For more information about Cooperative Divorce, contact us or visit www.cooperativedivorce.org.

At Pines Bach, LLP, our family law attorneys are problem-solvers, focused on aligning your legal issues with the most appropriate resolution methods.