After more than thirty years as a family law and matrimonial attorney, my practice is limited to Collaborative Practice and Mediation. I believe that people facing separation and divorce should be given the opportunity to choose a process for resolving their differences that honors their participation and trusts their ability to make the best decisions for themselves and their families.
Collaborative Law and Mediation for Family Law Resolutions
Both Mediation and Collaborative Law Practice rely on a voluntary exchange of information and a commitment to reach a mutually acceptable resolution. In both processes, the clients create options for settlement and control the final outcome. In both, if either party resorts to litigation, the voluntary and client-centered process ends.
As difficult as it might be at this time, the choices you make at the beginning of a process to separate or divorce will in large part determine the way your separation or divorce turns out, what kind of relationship you have in the future and how your children adjust. The guiding principle of Collaborative Law Practice and Mediation is respect and the respectful atmosphere in the room encourages understanding, compassion and cooperation. Collaborative Professionals and Mediators are specially trained in supporting constructive conversations and providing structure for non-adversarial negotiations.
Clients make a commitment to reach a comprehensive agreement. Custody decisions are spoken of in terms of a parenting arrangement that will ensure that children come through this family transition as whole and healthy as possible. Financial matters are addressed openly and honestly so that the the final resolution will work in the best way possible given the clients’ income and resources.
What Sue’s Clients Say About Collaborative Law
“It (collaborative law) seemed like the ideal process for our situation and our personalities – non-confrontational, non -accusatory, based on mutual respect for the best interests of the kids…We chose it together once we had read the information forwarded to us. It made sense for us and we felt confident that we could carry out the process cooperatively. We liked the idea of having individual attorneys to consult with, yet who are committed to an open, collaborative, decision-making process among the 4 of us.”
– 27 year marriage; two children; 5 1/2 month collaborative process
“Collaborative law allowed for a devastating situation to be handled with dignity. My emotions and needs were part of every conversation with both my lawyer and my spouse’s lawyer.”
– 7 year marriage; two children; 5 month collaborative process
“If you can try to put aside the emotional part of your separation or divorce and think 100% about what is best for your children and you, this process works! Your thoughts and concerns will be addressed but in a human way, not with hostility. The process continues even when you leave the boardroom or office. We are working together for the best interest of our son.”
– 5 year marriage; one young child; 4 month collaborative process
“The collaborative process was less confrontational than a conventional divorce process and appeared to be focused on a positive outcome for both parties versus just one or the other.”
– 24 year marriage; two children; 3 month collaborative process
“When children are involved, this process keeps their best interests at top priority. We are forced to deal with immediate issues at hand rather than focus on negative aspects of the past which had brought us to the current state.”
– 15 year marriage; 3 children; 3 month collaborative process
“Collaborative Law is an ideal model for couples who remain on trusting, respectful terms with each other and yet who have made the decision to separate or divorce. It permits the couple to resolve all of the many financial and custodial issues, while honoring each person’s dignity….it’s not a way to get the “best deal” for one’s own private self. It’s a way to work through a painful process with a minimum of further damage as long as each person is able to approach it with an open mind and a sense that fairness requires – compromise, giving and taking. It is a good feeling to be able to tell one’s kids that this kind of model worked for their parents during a sad, difficult time, just as we try to teach them to resolve differences with others in a cooperative way.”
– 27 year marriage; 2 children; 5 1/2 month collaborative process