Alternative Dispute Resolution

Collaborative Law in Separation, Divorce and Family Law

Collaborative Law is a respectful and dignified means of negotiating a settlement of all issues relating to your separation and divorce, such as custody, visitation, child support, alimony, and division of property. You and your spouse control the way differences are resolved.

The Collaborative Law process puts you and your spouse in charge of the decision-making in your separation, allowing you both to develop appropriate solutions for your unique needs and circumstances. Collaborative Law is an excellent tool in resolving conflicts and helping you and your spouse work through your differences to an agreeable solution for all.

If you are interested in Collaborative Law representation to resolve the issues arising from your separation and divorce, even if you or your spouse has already filed in court, please contact Mary Ellen Flynn of Andalman & Flynn, P.C. to learn more. Mary Ellen Flynn is a trained Collaborative Law attorney, and is a founding member of and serves on the Board of Directors of Maryland Collaborative Dispute Resolution Professionals, Inc.

Using the Collaborative Law Process in Separation and Divorce

To use the Collaborative Law process, you and your spouse must both agree in writing:

  • To exchange complete financial information for fully-informed decision-making;
  • Not to file in court. If either spouse decides to file in court, each Collaborative Law attorney will withdraw representation and not represent their respective clients in the court proceeding;
  • To engage in frank and open communication, and respect confidentiality; and,
  • To work toward a written agreement on all issues related to your separation and divorce without resorting to court intervention.

The First Step: Agreeing To Collaborate

The Collaborative Law process starts with you and your spouse deciding to resolve your case outside of court litigation. You each meet with and retain a Collaborative Law attorney who will give you legal advice and address your individual needs and concerns.

The Second Step: Collaborative Negotiation

Following this agreement, all parties and attorneys participate in a series of 4-way meetings in which you and your spouse work together to craft a resolution that suits the needs of you, your spouse, and your children. If you and your spouse decide you need additional information from experts such as appraisers, financial advisers, therapists or counselors, you and your spouse decide which experts to select and include those experts in the Collaborative Law process.

The Third Step: Collaborative Resolution

By committing to the Collaborative Law process to resolve the issues arising from your separation and divorce, you and your spouse have ultimate decision-making power, to work out your differences and disagreements in the manner that best suits each of you, and your family, while still receiving the expert advice of an attorney. Engaging in the Collaborative Law process is a step toward an amicable resolution to your separation and divorce, and establishes cooperative and respectful communication between you and your spouse, hopefully to continue into your new, separate lives. In addition, the Collaborative Law process in separation and divorce allows you to resolve your differences in the manner that best suits all, to ensure that financial and emotional needs for life and happiness are secure.

It also requires a greater commitment on each spouse’s behalf to work toward a mutual settlement, since your Collaborative Law attorneys must stop representation if either of you files in court for a litigated resolution.

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