An Alternative to Litigation
Family law matters, such as divorces, are typically governed by state laws regarding domestic relations and matrimonial rights. When a person decides to get married, it is a legal action that results in the creation of binding legal duties born from the marital relationship. Similarly, when a couple decides to get divorced, a court is responsible for declaring the end of the marital relationship in accordance with applicable laws.
Most legal disputes are resolved through conventional means of litigation, where the competing legal claims of the parties are at odds, requiring court intervention and judgment. This helps ensure that the best argument and evidence prevails over weaker claims and proof. This is known as the “adversarial” system of law.
However, in family law cases, many attorneys and family law professionals began noticing how the adversarial system of law would exacerbate existing conflicts and completely disrupt weakened familial relationships.
To address this issue, as well as the growing rate of divorce cases in court, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods were developed. ADR was designed to minimize the acrimony between the parties and the expenses that both would incur in divorce cases—all without court intervention.
Collaborative divorces are a form of ADR that gives the parties greater responsibility and control over the direction of their divorce, creating opportunities for compromise and cooperation, so damaged relationships do not deteriorate.
The Role of Experts in Collaborative Divorce
In the collaborative divorce process, the parties are represented by attorneys who specialize in collaborative law representation. Collaborative attorneys serve a distinctly different role from adversarial attorneys, seeking compromise and settlement instead of victory of the opposing party.
Because the role of a collaborative lawyer is so different from that of a traditional litigator, collaborative lawyers are legally obligated to refrain from representing their clients in subsequent litigation, should the collaborative law process fall apart.
Additionally, the collaborative law process relies heavily on the guidance and input of other professionals with expertise in specific family law issues. It is common for mental health professionals to consult on collaborative divorces and facilitate understand and settlement. A mental health expert can guide the parties through difficult scientific concepts while providing them with advice regarding sensitive matters involving minor children. The collaborative law process also often relies on financial professionals who can advise the parties on sophisticated financial concepts.
Contact Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich for Legal Advice
If you are confronting a divorce case or other legal dispute arising from California family law, you can benefit from the professional legal services of an experienced family law attorney at Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich. We have years of experience handling various family law matters—including divorces where the parties can resolve their differences out of court using the collaborative law process.