All Things Family Law

Discussion of all things related to family law from an Indiana divorce attorney.

This blog provides general family law and divorce law information. If you have a specific issue or case you need assistance with please contact me directly. 

Indiana Collaborative Divorce  

Collaborative divorce or collaborative law is newer way to resolve divorce and family law cases.  I am a member of the Central Indiana Association of Collaborative Professionals ("CIACP").  CIACP describes the difference between collaborative law and mediation as follows: 

What is the difference between Collaborative Law and mediation?

In mediation, there is one qualified neutral third party (typically an attorney) who assists the parties in negotiating a settlement of their case. The mediator does not represent either party to the dispute and cannot give either party legal advice, nor can the mediator advocate for either party’s position. If either party becomes unreasonable or stubborn, is emotionally distraught or unable to negotiate, the mediation process can be interrupted. A mediator may attempt to intervene to help the process resume, but if the mediator is unsuccessful, mediation can break down, or a negotiated agreement may be unbalanced. If the parties are represented by attorneys, their presence may actually contribute to the difficulties in the mediation, or their advice may come too late to be helpful.
Collaborative Law is an option to deal more effectively with potential problems for parties who may not be as prepared for mediation. While maintaining the same absolute commitment to settlement as the sole agenda, each party has quality legal advice and advocacy built in at all times during the process. Even if either party lacks negotiating skill, or is emotionally upset or angry, the process is equalized by the presence of the skilled advocates. It is the responsibility of the attorneys to encourage their clients to be reasonable to make sure that the process stays positive and productive.

Like mediation, the collaborative process is confidential. However, unlike mediation, if the collaborative process fails and the parties ultimately decide to use go to court their collaborative attorneys must withdraw and they must hire new attorneys.  

Moreover, during the process the parties and their attorneys are not allowed to threaten litigation or use litigation to resolve the divorce.  This is major difference, and is the source of much criticism of collaborative law.  But, it is the lack of litigation as a option that keeps collaborative law... well, collaborative, rather than positional.  Think of two children fighting over the best toys.  The fairest option would be for them to share the toys.  But, at some point, one child will want to grab the toys and run to Mom and/or Dad for help, or, maybe decide they want to fight for the toys. Collaborative law attempts to take away these "nuclear options" and force the children to determine on their own that it is their best interest to thing to share the toys.   

CICAP has a website, here, that can provide more information regarding collaborative law and provide referrals for collaborative divorce attorneys in Carmel, Indianapolis, and throughout Indiana.  

To discuss this topic more please contact me at [email protected], or 317-844-4693. 


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