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Alternative Dispute Resolution

What is Alternative Dispute Resolution?

The default system for resolving disputes in our society is to go to court and demand your legal rights.  In the legal process, the two sides are adversaries, which means, by definition, the other side is your enemy.  In order to be “successful,” each side focuses on persuading or convincing the other side, or the judge, that their point of view is right and the other party’s view is wrong. This system also presumes that there can be only one winner and one loser.

Family disputes are rarely this black and white. More importantly, the legal system is designed to resolve disputes in a consistent, predictable and final manner, but not necessarily in a way that one or both parties feels is “fair” or “equitable.” The law may limit what you get when you go to court, but what the law says is not necessarily what is best for your family. In fact, there are many options that parties can choose if they agree, even if the judge is not legally able to order such a result.

The Alternative Dispute process focuses on problem-solving, and not on “winning.”  In the Alternative Dispute process, the problems that need to be solved are identified, options to solve these problems are generated together, and you, the clients, choose (with the help of professionals) which options work best for your family. A complete settlement is then crafted by “packaging” a set of options that works for your situation. 

Even where a mutually cooperative approach is not appropriate, there are still a lot of options to resolve a family law dispute that do not require going through a costly, time-consuming and stressful court fight. Most family law lawyers will encourage you to consider settlement before seeking out the assistance of the family court.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Family Mediation: Mediation is a cooperative, voluntary dispute resolution process which uses the resources of a neutral person to facilitate communication between parties to assist them in reaching a mutually acceptable agreement.

Interest-based Negotiations

Clients often construct their own settlement agreements without ever setting foot in a courtroom. We can help you to reach an out-of-court settlement, outside of mediation or a formal Collaborative Process.