Collaborative Divorce in Ohio
Family legal conflicts involving divorce, child custody and visitation, child support, and related matters are usually resolved through negotiations or litigation. Both methods of dispute resolution have advantages and drawbacks.
Negotiations can resolve issues quickly and cheaply if the parties have simple goals and are amenable to compromise; however, consensus can be difficult to reach and issues may prove too emotionally charged to resolve without an intermediary.
Litigation may provide clear outcomes to the participants but can be expensive and time-consuming. It also can lead to bad blood between parties (such as parents) who may need to cooperate in the future. Finally, by going to court, the parties put their fates in the hands of a judge who may or may not share their goals and perspectives.
In recent years, a third method of dispute resolution has become popular. Known as “collaborative family law,” it turns the typically adversarial litigation model on its head. Instead of competing against each other to advance the “win-lose” goals of disagreeing clients, the lawyers for parties in the collaborative family law process help their clients work together to reach mutually beneficial goals.
An Effective Alternative To Adversarial Dispute Resolution
Family disputes are intensely personal life events that can tax any participant’s energy and emotional resources. When litigated in court, a traditional adversarial divorce case can be unnecessarily expensive, time-consuming, and unsatisfying.
Often, parties who “fight it out” in court end up with much less money and satisfaction than those who manage to resolve the important issues in a settlement. Historically, 90 to 95 percent of all traditional divorce cases filed in court end up, after the expenditure of large sums of money and time, with the agreement of both spouses on all issues, and without any actual trial before a judge or magistrate.
But not every disputing party can immediately agree to terms enabling them to avoid litigation. Issues are often too complex, or too emotionally difficult, for the parties to work out on their own.
Early Neutral Evaluation.
Collaborative Divorce Attorneys provide neutral consulting services to educate divorcing parties who are seeking timely education, suggestions, or nonbinding advisory opinions on what might be reasonable and appropriate regarding the subjects of the division of property, child and spousal support, and the allocation of parenting responsibilities — with or without the involvement of attorneys.
Ohio Collaborative Family Law.
Pursuant to the provisions of the Ohio Collaborative Family Law Act (effective on March 20, 2013), he assists clients in this relatively new family dispute resolution process, by which both parties retain separate attorneys who have completed special training in collaborative practice techniques. The parties sign an agreement to work with their personal collaborative attorneys toward a win-win settlement on mutually acceptable terms for the restructuring of the parties’ family and financial matters, using interest-based, principled negotiation techniques, without any threats of litigation. All communications among the parties and their lawyers during joint meetings are confidential and privileged and are not admissible as evidence in any court action involving the parties.
Ohio law, standards of practice, and court rules limit the extent to which mediators can express opinions or offer suggestions. Mediation is a process in which a trained neutral person, called a mediator, helps parties in a disagreement to communicate with each other, understand each other, and — if possible — reach voluntary agreements about their disputes. Under the Ohio Mediation Act, all communications between the parties and the mediator are privileged and confidential and are not admissible as evidence in any court.
Mediators do not make decisions for parties; rather, they facilitate dispute resolution by helping parties communicate and negotiate with each other in a more productive manner.
Neutral facilitation services assist the parties with more effective communication, identification of needs and interests, and negotiation of solutions to disputed issues, with or without the involvement of attorneys. All communications among the parties and the mediator during joint meetings are confidential and privileged and are not admissible as evidence in any court action involving the parties.
He serves as a neutral decision maker in binding and nonbinding arbitration of marital disputes involving parenting plans, valuation of assets, division of property, or spousal and child support, which options can be chosen by agreement of the parties under the Ohio Arbitration Act, or Rule 15(B), Ohio Rules of Superintendence.