While we strive for collaborative divorce and mediation processes, if it comes to it, we will stop at nothing to advocate for our clients
Divorce / Separation
Are you or your spouse looking for a divorce or separation?
We can help you navigate your choices. Whether it is a contested or un-contested divorce we work with you to find the process that best suits your situation so that you can reach an agreement to best support your transition into the next phase of your life.
There are 3 main types of divorce / separation options, ‘Collaborative Divorce’, ‘Mediation’, and ‘Negotiation/Litigation.’
Collaborative Law is an alternate method of out-of-court dispute resolution where the parties and their attorney’s work together to resolve their issues without the possibility of court intervention clouding the picture.
Mediation is a process in which a neutral third party called a “Mediator” works with a couple, as they move toward divorce, to reach a mutually agreeable settlement. A mediator does not represent either party. Each spouse may (and should) choose to be represented by their own attorney, but it is not required.
Negotiation / Litigation
Though other methods of getting a divorce, such as Mediation and Collaborative Law are gaining in popularity, due to lower legal fees and reduction of emotional carnage, the majority of divorcing couples still choose the “traditional” model of litigated divorce.
Using the methods put forth in the principles of Collaborative Law, Neil Fredman and Ellen Jancko-Baken, both of whom are collaboratively trained, work with their clients to reach a settlement that focuses on the highest goals of each person, while protecting the emotional and physical well-being of their children, maintaining the ability of the parties to co-parent successfully and to be able to go forward with as little damage to the family as possible. Since the parents/parties actively participate in all facets of the resolution of their matter, these arrangements have proven to be more successful for all concerned.
Is a Collaborative Approach to Divorce Right for Me?
Collaborative divorce is appropriate for any couple who has discussed the possibility of divorce and chooses to go into the process with the intent of treating the other with sensitivity and respect, and who sincerely wish to remain “out of court” in all respects. It is important to remember that when entering into a Collaborative Divorce arrangement that you and your spouse have open lines of communication as well as a desire to resolve issues without resorting to threats or “position taking”. Divorcing parties engaged in the Collaborative process maintain a willingness to be totally transparent throughout, in the interest of achieving an amicable resolution at an affordable price.
Making a Commitment to Resolve Your Disputes Amicably
In the initial Collaborative meeting, there are generally four persons present – the divorcing parties and their lawyers. In this meeting, everyone enters into a contract, committing to settling matters without threatening a lawsuit or “going to court”. After this, the parties determine what additional team members would be helpful to resolve issues specific to their situation. We then assist our clients find parenting specialists, financial specialists, and divorce coaches, as needed, who all can provide valuable insight in reaching a resolution with which both parties are comfortable.
You and your spouse will meet with the Mediator, who may be an attorney or a non-legal mediator, for a series of meetings to discuss and resolve the issues pertinent to the dissolution of your marriage. The mediator’s role is to facilitate negotiations with the goal towards helping both spouses to better understand their needs and interests, and, to assist the spouses in reaching compromises that will culminate in a written Agreement. The mediator does not serve as an advocate for either spouse. While the mediator should explain the law pertaining to divorce to both spouses, he or she is not responsible for protecting either spouse’s legal interests.
We have found that mediation in custody matters often results in more productive and successful co-parenting agreements. Parties deal with the fact that they’ll have an ongoing relationship as parents, and they realize that when it comes to their children, they are on the same side. The result? Parties come up with a parenting plan they’ve jointly agreed on and walk away with the tools to communicate more effectively with each other about their children. Research shows that parents who mediate have a better long-term relationship with their children.
If mediation is something you are considering, call our office to talk to one of our attorneys to see if it is right for you.
Negotiation / Litigation
When there is no other way for you and your spouse to reach an agreement on the issues pertaining to the dissolution of your marriage, and division of your assets, it may be necessary to resort to litigation to reach a settlement.
Keep in mind, though, “litigated” does not mean the divorce ends up in court. In fact, the vast majority of all divorce cases reach an out-of-court settlement agreement. “Litigation” is a legal term meaning ‘carrying out a lawsuit.’
It is rare that a divorce is between two people mutually agreeing to end their marriage. In fact, in the majority of cases, the decision to divorce is not mutual. That, by its very nature, creates an adversarial situation right from the start and often disqualifies mediation and collaborative divorce as viable methods for dispute resolution, since both of these methods rely on the full cooperation and honesty of both parties, and the voluntary disclosure of all financial information.
The most important, and yet the most difficult part of any divorce is reaching an agreement on issues like child custody, division of assets and liabilities, and support payments. The attorney’s at Fredman Baken & Novenstern are highly skilled negotiators, and will always strive to reach a reasonable settlement for their clients, without resorting to costly (emotional and financial) court time. We believe that an overly contentious approach not only prolongs the pain of divorce, but will substantially increase your legal fees, and will be emotionally detrimental to everyone involved, especially the children. Of course, if negotiating an agreement can’t be done, we are known as tough and relentless advocates for our client’s rights and will stop at nothing to ensure our client’s rights are protected.
Post Judgment of Divorce
Are you already divorced and need to enforce or modify your existing Agreement or Judgment of Divorce?
When either party’s financial circumstances change, or a former spouse is not adhering to the guidelines laid out in your existing agreement, we can help ensure enforcement of your standing agreement or negotiate a new one.
Are you planning on getting married and need structure and/or protection?
We’re experienced in this highly sensitive subject and can help plan and protect your assets as you move into this exciting phase of life.
Are you already married but looking to set some parameters?
It’s never too late to put a plan in place.