Mediation and collaborative divorce can be extremely helpful for some divorcing couples
No divorce is easy. The dissolution of a marriage is a significant family, financial and emotional event. However, while no one looks forward to getting a divorce, divorce does not necessarily have to be the messy, expensive and contentious process it is commonly thought to be.
Mediation and collaborative divorce involve negotiation directly between the parties involved in the divorce to resolve contested issues. In mediation, the parties to a divorce – each represented by an attorney – negotiate to attempt to resolve the issues surrounding divorce, including spousal support, division of property, and parenting plans. Through a collaborative divorce, a divorcing couple agrees to resolve all issues through negotiation with the help of third-party professionals without entering the litigation process. Mediation can be the sole method to resolve contested issues, or used as a supplement to litigation.
Mediation and alternative litigation processes
Like many legal matters, how parties to a divorce approach the process is still the largest single factor in the way divorce matters are resolved. Couples who engage in mediation with a sincere attempt to work towards a resolution can save in legal fees and future disputes.
However, mediation and other alternative divorce resolution processes must be undertaken with the representation of an attorney. Too often, an unrepresented party to a divorce will agree to a settlement that is not in his or her best interest, simply to move on with the divorce process or in an attempt to be “reasonable.” It is true that mediation is effective; however, it does not have to come at the expense of one party. If one party is attempting to take advantage of the other, by hiding assets, for example, or requesting an unequal division of assets, the right to a contested divorce should not be lightly cast aside.
Connecticut looking to improve family courts
Family law courts look favorably on alternatives to litigation. Mediation and collaboration can reduce the burden on the court system and lead to better outcomes.
However, litigation may be necessary in order to reach an acceptable result. For example, mediation and collaboration may not be appropriate for couples with a history of abuse. If one party is hiding assets, mediation and collaboration will not reach a fair agreement. In addition, if the health and wellbeing of children are involved, there may simply not be room to negotiate.
Fortunately, throughout 2015 Connecticut will look to improve the process of adjudicating divorce and other family law disputes. Among the potential changes include assigning one judge for the entire divorce process, making the divorce process simpler for couples without children and the ability to e-file certain documents. A contested divorce can resolve issues through litigation without devolving into shouting matches and skyrocketing legal fees.
An experienced divorce lawyer can discuss your goals and legal options
There is no single “correct” way to dissolve a marriage. Individual circumstances play the greatest role in determining the best way to approach divorce. For Connecticut residents considering whether mediation or collaborative divorce is the right approach for them, contact the experienced family law attorneys at Broder Orland Murray & DeMattie, LLC, with significant experience in conducting mediation and alternative dispute resolution processes and in representing clients in both mediation and litigation.
Keywords: Connecticut divorce, mediation, collaborative divorce, negotiation.