Collaborative Law – Responding to a Need

By: Yeuh-Mei Kim Nutter

Brinkley Morgan Firm, Co-counsel

The Dissolution of a Marriage in a litigation setting is costly.  It takes its toll on all involved, the spouses, the professionals, the Court system and particularly, the children.

Divorces will continue to happen.  However, a family doesn’t need to deplete their savings, the children’s college accounts, nor draw blood in the process.

Too frequently, the first missile in a costly litigation battle is launched with the filing of a Petition, which is replete with allegations of financial marital wasting, lack of fitness for custody of the children and demands for high financial support.  Once done, the other spouse is compelled to launch back.  The battle lines are now drawn, and each party becomes polarized that their position is correct and necessary to prevail.  The clients’ then want the attorney to achieve that client’s polarized position, reasonable or not.

If this is how a divorce starts, how does the case get reasonably settled?  How are the needed family relationships preserved?  How do parents make decisions in their children’s best interest in the whirlwind of litigation?  How detrimentally are the children impacted?

Another alternative to litigation is the Collaborative Law process which is proving to be more beneficial to children than divorcing through a litigation.  The Collaborative Family Law process was found in 1990 by Minnesota attorney, Stu Webb. 

The principal of Collaborative Law is the shared belief of all participants that it is best for the family to commit to a process of honestly, fairness, cooperation, integrity, and professionalism focused on the well-being of the family through the dissolution of marriage.  The goal is to minimize (or negate) the negative social, economic and emotional consequences of protracted litigation on children and their families.

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