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Collaborative Family Law during the Covid-19 Pandemic

Are you considering getting a divorce or initiating a paternity or post-judgment action, but are concerned that you will need to wait a significant amount of time due to the limitations placed on the courts because of COVID-19? You have other options at your disposal that can get you results quicker than traditional litigation without having to set foot in a courtroom, and the Collaborative Law Process may be the right option for you.

In the Collaborative Process, a team of professionals assist you and your spouse or partner to reach a resolution that is acceptable by both of you, without ever needing to step in front of a judge.

The team is comprised of two collaboratively trained attorneys, each representing her or his respective client, a neutral facilitator and a neutral forensic accountant, if there are complex financial issues involved in your case. The neutral facilitator will prepare your Parenting Plan when there are minor children involved, cutting down the fees you incur, since the facilitator’s fees tend to be a great deal lower than those of your attorney. The neutral forensic accountant will objectively analyze the financial issues involved in your case, and will brainstorm potential resolutions with you, your spouse/partner and the other team members.

There is a commitment to resolving your matter outside of traditional litigation when you handle your case collaboratively. Every team member, including both parties, must sign a disqualification provision as part of a Collaborative Law Participation Agreement. That provision prohibits anyone from representing you or your spouse/partner in litigation if you are not able to successfully resolve your case via the Collaborative Process. Do not worry though, as over 85% of cases that start collaboratively end collaboratively.

Everyone in the Collaborative Process is committed to full transparency. That means that any requested document that is pertinent to your case must be exchanged. This eliminates the need for formal discovery requests or subpoenas. You can rest assured knowing that your request for production of documents must be complied with, as long as it relevant to your matter.

Perhaps most importantly, you can reach a global resolution of your matter without ever having to step foot in front of a judge. In today’s climate, those individuals that decided to handle their cases collaboratively are at a huge advantage. They are not experiencing the same setbacks that litigants are currently dealing with since the courts are closed and there is no certainty as to when the courts will be fully open and operational again. Even though the courts recently starting handling certain hearings via video or phone conferencing, not every hearing is being heard that way. It is also far less effective or efficient to handle evidentiary hearings or trials in any other method that is not face to face.

The courts’ closure had absolutely no effect on Collaborative Cases. Collaborative teams were able to start handling their team meetings via video conferencing at the outset, not skipping a beat. It is not too late for you. If you are interested in the Collaborate Process, please contact our office. Cases that started off in traditional litigation can transition into the Collaborative Process without delay. If you have not started your case yet, or if your case is currently “on hold” due to the courts’ closure, now is the time to strongly consider handling your case collaboratively.

Do not hesitate to contact our office if you want more information on Collaborative Family Law.