We offer legal options for all family law and estate matters
NEGOTIATED DIVORCE & CUSTODY (AKA KITCHEN TABLE DIVORCE)
Sometimes only one party chooses to retain an attorney and the other opts to represent himself or herself. We will work with the parties to negotiate an amicable out of court settlement. The unrepresented party is free to seek individual legal counsel at any time. Once the final documents, such as a custody agreement or property settlement agreement, we encourage the unrepresented party to have it reviewed by separate counsel to protect their interests. When the parties share the costs, it can be a great savings.
COOPERATIVE DIVORCE AND OR CUSTODY
In a cooperative divorce or custody matter the attorneys agree to keep the matter out of court. Both parties have to be motivated to negotiate and resolve their matters in a non-adversarial manner. If the parties are unable to resolve the matter out of court, it can proceed through the regular court process of litigation.
A Collaborative divorce can be the best approach for parties who want to work through the issues in a team approach. Everyone agrees to stay out of court to negotiate all issues in an amicable and cooperative fashion. Each party retains a Collaboratively trained attorney to act as their advocate. Neutral professionals such as financial advisors and mental health professionals may be used to help resolves some of the issues, if needed. Everyone, including the parties and the professionals, signs a document called a Participation Agreement in which everyone formally agrees to stay out of court. A collaborative matter cannot proceed to court with the Collaborative attorneys who signed the Participation Agreement. This is especially helpful for high net worth situations or complicated finances. It is private, confidential and always considers the best interests of the children, if any.
Some couples choose to work through their issues with the help of a neutral mediator. A mediator can help parties have a meaningful conversation, so they can work out issues related to divorce and custody, and other matters. The mediator will draft a memorandum of understanding for the parties. That document can be taken to a lawyer to draft and file formal documents or the parties can draft and file the documents themselves.
Litigation is the process most people think of when encountering legal issues. Attorneys speak to the court by filing pleadings on behalf of their clients. The courts have specific rules that attorneys must follow called the rules of civil procedure and the rules of evidence in presenting their client's case. Matters are scheduled before judges and masters (attorneys who act like judges). In some cases, the parties are too far apart or are unable to communicate with each other, so that litigation is necessary. Our firm's civil litigation practice includes complex divorce and custody matters, alienation, support, relocation, and protection from abuse/restraining orders. Our attorneys always try to negotiate on your behalf before going to court, but sometimes a matter must be litigated. As your counsel, we will vehemently and competently advocate for you in and out of court.