Tuesday, 28 August 2012

How do mediation and a collaborative divorce differ?

Mediation involves the participants sitting down with a mediator that is neutral and is there to help the participants communicate more effectively in hopes of coming to a mutual understanding. During these meetings, lawyers representing the parties are usually not present. The mediator is also not able to decide anything for the participants, they must ultimately decide themselves whether or not they will come to an agreement. In addition, the person mediating the dispute cannot give out legal counsel to either party or advise either party if the proposal is best for them. By contrast, a collaborative divorce involves several meetings between the participants and their lawyers, whom have the ability to give out advice and be advocates on behalf of their client. There are times when mediation is called for as a part of the overall collaborative divorce process. One example of such an occurrence is when the spouses are unable to come to an agreement on a certain issue.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Is a Collaborative Divorce and mediation the same thing?

The short answer is no. While there may be some crossover between the two processes, and some of the professionals that work in collaborative divorces have some training with mediation, there are fundamental differences between the dynamics of the two. In mediation, there is a neutral mediator that is not a representative of either of the parties in the dispute, and will not normally advise the parties legally (although they may encourage them to get legal help independently). A collaborative divorce, on the other hand, will involve the spouses meeting a number of times with a group that may include their lawyers and other professionals that are considered members of the ‘team.’ The objective being to reach a written agreement covering all areas of dispute that will be both deemed in the best interest of all parties involved and accepted by everyone.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Hiding assets during divorce

Here is article on the topic of spouses  hiding assets during a divorce, from Janet Baker of the Collaborative Law Group of Southern Arizona.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Isn't collaborative practice the same as mediation?

No. The dynamic in mediation is entirely different from collaborative practice. While collaborative practitioners are trained in meditative techniques, it is very rare that clients in mediation have their advocates in the room with their mediators. Mediators are neutral and typically do not give legal “advice”. The mediator represents neither party, yet the parties are often encouraged to seek legal advice from independent attorneys. In the collaborative process, clients attend a series of meetings accompanied by their attorneys; by their coaches; and/or by any other member of the collaborative team. The goal of the process is to create a global settlement in writing that meets the needs of the children and of the parents; a resolution acceptable to both spouses.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

How does the cost of Collaborative Divorce compare with the cost of litigation?

Traditional court based divorce is often the most costly way to resolve a dispute,both emotionally and financially. It is common for traditional divorces to begin with a motion for temporary support. The result is a temporary court order rather than a final agreement on the issue. The court based divorce can last for a year or more, is not confidential, involves extensive legal maneuvering by attorneys, numerous hearings, the hiring of experts to support the legal arguments, and at the end, a lengthy trial with unpredictable results. The collaborative divorce process is confidential, can move faster and in most cases will be less expensive than traditional court based divorce. 

In collaborative divorce the professionals focus on the participants and their circumstances rather than waiting in court for your case to be called. The professionals will assist the participants in the realistic discussions and reducing conflicts.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012


Once it is determined that spousal maintenance will be paid, the duration of the payments, along with the amount paid, must be agreed upon. The duration of the payments is subjective and driven by the facts of the particular case. Once again, the Arizona spousal maintenance statute provides little clear guidance in ascertaining how long the payments should continue. The primary statutory criteria are the following: a) length of the marriage; b) age, earning ability and employment history of the receiving spouse; c) whether the receiving spouse contributed to the earning ability of the paying spouse and/or reduced their own earning ability in doing so; d) the time necessary for the receiving spouse to attain the education or training to be reasonably employed.

As can be seen, the attorneys and the parties must pretty much strike out on their own in resolving the specific duration of payments issue. Again, this is a negotiation which works best if all involved are working together in a way that both spouses can live with and endorse.

Peter Axelrod