Collaborative law has become a vastly used option for divorcing couples. The idea behind collaborative law is that the couple works out their issues with the intention of having an agreed upon settlement instead of having to go to the court to argue the issues. In many respects a collaborative law divorce is much like resolving the issues during mediation.
In mediation each party informs the mediator as to what they are willing to settle on and the mediator as a bipartisan third party provides advice and counsel to the parties so that they can reach some sort of settlement or agreement on some issues.
Since the adoption of collaborative law in 2009 with the Uniform Collaborative Law Act many couples have sought to use collaborative law principles during their divorce. The use of litigation in a divorce case creates added strain on the family, especially when children are involved.
To use collaborative law in your divorce process both parties need to voluntarily sign a participation agreement before beginning. In a collaborative law divorce case each party has their own lawyer to inform them about their rights and legal standing. Similarly, the participation agreement disqualifies each lawyer's right to represent either party in any future family related litigation.
With fifty percent of marriages ending in divorce it has become much more important to find a simple and easy-to-navigate solution for people facing divorce. Collaborative law creates and obligation on the attorney to focus only on negotiations and to use problem solving skills to break an impasse.
Pennsylvania has not enacted the Uniform Collaborative Law Act but many family law attorneys are using the collaborative law concepts to handle their cases. Our Pittsburgh family law attorneys at Lisa Marie Vari & Associates have worked on a number of divorce cases and child custody cases in which the couple decided they wanted to keep things as amicable as possible by using collaborative law as opposed to litigation. In Pittsburgh every family law case must go to mediation so even if one party does not agree to the use of collaborative law there is still a chance to avoid litigation by settling at the mediation stage. If you are facing a divorce and would like to learn more about collaborative law contact our office today.