Family Law Litigation would be accurately called the 'traditional' form of dispute resolution. While the parties may try to engage in settlement discussions and reach a resolution,if they do not, their claims will ultimately be decided by the Court through a hearing or an oral argument. Further, the progress and timing of their case will largely be governed by the Courts Rules and procedures. In the event that a party is dissatisfied with the results, they may have a right to further avail themselves to the powers of the Court by potentially seeking an appeal of the Court's decision.
In family law Mediation, instead of going to Court and relying upon the rulings of a Judge or Hearing Officer, the parties jointly retain a mediator, who assists them in working towards a solution to their domestic relations matters. The parties may also each have their own attorneys who participate in the mediation process with them, or who play more of a 'behind the scenes' role to assure they are aware of the prevailing law and how it may affect the facts of their case. The Mediator will help the parties maintain a dialog with one another and assist them in working towards resolution.
In the collaborative process, the parties agree from the beginning that they won’t go to Court. Rather, the parties' collaboratively trained attorneys work with trained mental health professionals, financial planners and other skilled experts who assist the parties to facilitate an amicable resolution of their issues. While not for everyone, for the right individuals, mediation or collaborative law can be a faster and more cost effective means of resolving their personal matters, assuming that they are committed to working towards a solution.
Rebecca A. MyerS,ESQUIRE Attorney at law