Montana Collaborative DivorceMarybeth Sampsel
A growing trend among divorce attorneys, and especially clients, is collaborative law. The Texas Collaborative Law Blog gives a terrific overview of the collaborative law process as it applies to divorces and other family law issues:
Collaborative Law is a dispute resolution system that permits the parties to a divorce or family law issue to settle out of court in a respectful, private and mutually agreeable manner. The parties each have their own attorneys, but they agree at the outset to not go to court. Instead, they set goals, gather information, create solutions and reach agreements in a series of relatively short meetings which they schedule themselves. They control the timing, the subjects and, most importantly, the solutions. Courts are used to formalize the agreements once the parties have worked things out.
One of the reasons why Collaborative Law works is that once the Collaborative participation agreement is signed by the parties and their attorneys, the attorneys are required to withdraw from representing their clients if the process fails to reach an agreement and someone wants to go to court. Those attorneys cannot represent those clients in a contested matter in court. That creates a huge incentive for both attorneys and clients to stay with the process and look for other solutions when the going gets a little tough. In a regular litigation case, the easy cop-out is for one or both parties to tell the other party that they will just let the judge decide if the other party won’t agree to an offer. That can’t be done without costing both parties a lot of money and without the attorneys losing business. Everyone loses by that alternative, so everyone generally keeps trying to find an acceptable solution.
The promise of helping a divorcing couple avoid litigation and court intervention is appealing to many clients. Add to that the fact that collaborative divorces may be less expensive, and it is easy to see why this is a growing trend. However, I stress that collaborative divorces are not right for all Montana couples. But, it is always something I am willing to discuss with clients. If you are interested in learning more about collaborative divorce, please call me today to set up an appointment at (406) 752-6373.