Collaborative Divorce: Right for You?

If you know a family law attorney, or if you know someone who has gone through a divorce recently, you may have heard the phrase “collaborative divorce.”  Believe it or not, there is such a thing, and it’s gaining traction around the country. Here are some of the most common questions the attorneys at Ruppert & Schaefer, P.C., receive about collaborative divorce:

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  1. What does collaborative divorce entail? The short answer is that in a collaborative divorce, the parties and attorneys make a promise that they will not go to court; rather, they will work together with their attorneys (and sometimes other professionals such as therapists or financial advisors) in series of meetings to civilly resolve all the issues. The parties and attorneys sign a collaborative agreement which memorializes this pledge. If, for some reason, this is not possible, and one or both parties choose to go to court, the parties must find new attorneys to represent them.
  1. Who should consider collaborative divorce? There is no one right answer to this question; however, you might consider collaborative divorce if you desire some or all of the following:
  • to avoid court intervention;
  • to achieve a civil resolution;
  • to maintain an amicable relationship with your former spouse;
  • to amicably co-parent with your former spouse; and
  • maintain privacy, autonomy, and control in personal matters like those that arise in divorce.

The overall goal of collaborative divorce is to bring the parties and attorneys together so that creative, respectful, and collective problem solving can occur.

  1. Do I need an attorney who is trained to practice collaborative divorce?  To be able to represent a client in a collaborative law divorce, the attorney must have received training in the collaborative process.   A collaboratively trained attorney understands the goals of the collaborative-divorce process, knows how to work with other team members to effectuate those goals, and can make sure the client understands and feels comfortable with the process at each stage.

Attorneys Paula Schaefer and Lainie Hurwitz of Ruppert & Schaefer, P.C., are trained collaborative attorneys and are available to discuss this process with you at any time. Call us at (317) 580-9295; your future is our concern.

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Mediation During Divorce

Divorce can be an emotional, exhausting, and expensive process.  But it doesn’t necessarily have to be. Certain methods of alternative dispute resolution are becoming increasingly popular in the divorce context.  Mediation is one of the most effective of those methods—so much so that some courts require parties to mediate at least once when seeking a divorce.

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Why is mediation such an attractive alternative?  Let the attorneys at Ruppert & Schaefer count the ways:

  1. You may avoid going to Court. Divorce trials often bring out the worst in people, and they can irreparably damage relationships between litigants who may have to co-parent for years to come. Even if no children are involved, trials are expensive and stressful for those involved.
  2. You have the control. You and your spouse decide what the terms of your divorce will be—not a judge. While you may have to “give” a little (and your spouse will likely have to, too), you will have the final say about sensitive matters like children, personal possessions, and finances.
  3. You can speak your mind (within reason). Divorce can stir up feelings of bitterness and resentment. When children are involved, there may be concerns about parenting or introductions between children and new romantic partners. These issues may not be relevant at a trial.  Mediation provides a time and a place to speak about these things: emotions are simply more welcome at mediation. Sometimes the opportunity to speak freely about these subjects benefits the parties—and paves the way for settlement.
  4. You may save money. A trial is expensive. Even if you pay a mediator, you will likely spend less than what it will cost you to have your attorney prepare for a trial.  Effective attorneys and mediators will help clients narrow the disputed issues as quickly as possible so that they can determine whether settlement is possible.
  5. You may save time. Often it is much easier to get on a mediator’s calendar than a court’s, and if you are able to settle your case in mediation, you will not need to wait weeks or even months to get a court date.

Although mediation is not appropriate in every case, many clients can benefit from mediation, for the reasons above and many others. The attorneys at Ruppert & Schaefer mediate with our clients on a regular basis and are available to discuss this process with you at any time.  Call us at (317) 580-9295; your future is our concern.