Collaborative Law: An alternative to consider when facing Divorce

By: Jillian DiLaura McGuire

Separation and divorce can be an overwhelming and terrifying process.  In an instant, everything you hold nearest and dearest – your children, your home, your business, your money – is being examined, considered, and divided.  This process is overseen by a judge, a person you have never met, who does not know you, and who often only receives one part of the larger story.

With the right guidance, there is no question that the divorce process can be conducted with dignity and grace.  But even under the best circumstances, litigation is emotionally taxing.  The very nature of our adversarial court system is that it pits one party against the other, which often then generates feelings of ill will, distrust, and distress.  It is very difficult to walk away from the litigation process with these feelings and then still carry on with the business of working with your former spouse to sell the house, divide your belongings, or raise your children.

There is an alternative.  Collaborative Law is an approach that requires both parties’ participation and agreement not to go to court.  The goal is to have a more transparent, cooperative approach that focuses on a mutually derived outcome, rather than “winning” or “losing.”  It encourages a separating or divorcing couple to put all cards on the table and collaborate to arrive at a workable solution that they determine, rather than having to live with the decision a judge makes.  The parties work side by side with trained attorneys and other neutral collaborative professionals to help them arrive at the desired outcome, with a focus on respect, privacy, and cooperation.

I am pleased to announce that I have recently completed the training to become a collaborative attorney.  If you are interested in selecting this approach, I would be thrilled to discuss it with you.  Please feel free to contact me at jmcguire@mackenziehughes.com for more information.