When most individuals think of the law or lawyers, they think of courtrooms, objections, shouting, and banging gavels. Seldom do they think of calm. While there have been methods of alternative dispute resolution for many years, the emerging field of collaborative law provides parties with a tool other than the typical hammer of litigation.
Anyone who has been involved with the Family Courts understands that the unique family dynamics and continuing interpersonal relationships involved cannot simply be pounded in to place. Collaborative law allows the opportunity for the parties to engage collaboratively trained attorneys and other professionals, including a psychologist, financial experts, or child specialists to help best express the needs, wants, and best interests of the minor children. This team of professionals works work together to forge agreements between the parties.
In addition to shielding the parties, as well as their children, from the difficult, often emotionally draining Court process, the collaborative law process also means the parties are afforded greater privacy and confidentiality. Additionally, their agreements and other documents are not filed with the Court to be viewed by the prying eye of the public. Statistics show that collaborative divorces often resolve much faster and also more cost effectively than traditional litigation.
TRADITIONAL RESOLUTION (LITIGATION)
In traditional resolution, the parties typically each retains their own attorney. This attorney acts as their personal adviser assessing the facts of their case and Pennsylvania law in the way that is most beneficial to their individual client, and not the parties as a whole. To the extent of the parties require any experts to assist them, typically they each pay their own expert fees in addition to their own counsel fees. While the court system is designed to try and bring the parties together on several occasions and to encourage discussions towards settlement there, is not much of an obligation to earnestly engage in conflict resolution. Assuming the parties are unable to do this, through the Court's required conciliations and mediations, or their own efforts, at every step along the way they can be scheduled for a hearing or trial to resolve their disputes. These may be limited hearings devoted to a single issue, like who gets to live in the house following separation or it may be a full equitable distribution hearing to address division of assets. Along the way the parties may also have separate hearings to determine support or their custody arrangement. If one of the parties is unwilling to engage in reasonable negotiations to attempt to at the very least minimize outstanding issues, the parties may face significant time and expense resolving these matters in Court.
I have represented clients and a variety of cases including equitable distribution, spousal support and child support, custody and other family law issues throughout the Greater Pittsburgh area. Even in the more traditional resolution, the parties should keep open minds towards settlement and attempts to maintain a dialogue the other side. Especially in the situation where the parties are going to continue to share custody of the children and co-parent with one another for the rest of their lives, I believe it is important (even in the litigation context) to explore possible resolution without damaging these and important long-term relationships. However, this is not always possible. As such I am a strong advocate for my clients both in settlement discussions and in the Courtroom.
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution with a long history behind it. Currently, in addressing family law matters, there are two ways mediation can take place. In the first, the parties jointly retain a mediator with whom they will meet several times to try to get a dialogue going about whatever issues they wish to have a mediator address. This can be custody, support, division of assets etc. (The mediator may work with the parties on all or only some of these issues.
In some cases the parties are the ones who retain the mediator and meet with them individually, without an attorney of their own. It is still advised that individuals engaging in mediation have separate attorneys of their own as it is the role of the mediator to help the parties forge an agreement, not advocate for one side or the other. While the mediator can explain what prevailing Pennsylvania case law is, they are not an advocate for either party and it is not their duty to explain to them their best possible arguments. If there is a strong power imbalance between the parties, a history of domestic violence or a history of mental illness, I would not recommend this type of dispute resolution.
In the alternative the party's going to each retain their own attorney who will then meet with the mediator with the parties also present at this make sure that the parties have someone in the room familiar with Pennsylvania law and the facts of their case to help advise them as to their best potential outcomes possible areas of dispute Etc in either case important than anyone undergoing mediation have a commitment to trying to work through matters as well as the proper information to do so turning Myers as a trained mediator is assisted parties serving in this capacity in addition on many occasions I've acted as the attorney for party going through mediation either by attending same with them or by providing background information and preparation meetings for sessions they attend on their own
Resolution Tools for your Family Law Matter
Rebecca Myers is a great lawyer!
Posted by anonymous
October 17, 2013
"Rebecca Myers is an excellent lawyer, very knowledgeable in her area of divorce law, very kind, and has a good sense of humor. She was a pleasure to work with during a very difficult time of my life. She has good insights into the usual practice in her field so that she helped me to set priorities in how to proceed with with legal case. I would highly recommend her to prospective clients."
Posted by Matt
October 21, 2013
"Rebecca represented me for custody of my children and also my divorce. As a male I expected to walk out paying child support for the next 15 years, but after a 5 hour talk mediated by Rebecca we had signed an agreement for custody and the divorce. We even went to lunch afterwards! I endorse Rebecca and think that anyone in this situation would be lucky to her her as their legal representation!"
“Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often the real loser – in fees, and expenses, and in waste of time. As a peacemaker, the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough.” – Abraham Lincoln.
“If your only tool is a hammer. Every problem looks like a nail.” – Abraham Maslow
It is no secret that family law cases can be costly, both financially and emotionally. I offer forward thinking alternatives to traditional litigation allowing parties to resolve their differences and maintain control over their and their lives with less acrimony and uncertainty.
Posted by anonymous
June 25, 2016
"A friend referred me to Rebecca, and I am glad she did. Rebecca guided me through the most devastating paths of my life. I trust her guidance and honesty through each step of my very tricky and complicated divorce. She really knows her field and kept me informed as to all the avenues I could take, helping me understand the possible outcomes and scenarios of each possible situation, keeping my rights top priority. Rebecca also referred me to others for assistance, not in her field, as well. I truly am thankful for her help. If needed, I would recommend her to a friend as well. Rebecca has a nice balance of caring for her clients along with getting the job done."
WHAT REAL CLIENTS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT WORKING WITH REBECCA:
Caring and hardworking family attorney
Posted by Marcie
May 19, 2016
"I have been working with Ms. Myers for years. Her kindness, compassion, and expertise have been so important to me during the worst and most stressful years of my life. She always listened to my concerns and fought to get the best results for my child and for me. She was amazing through the stressful and overwhelming child support and custody conciliation processes."
Rebecca A. MyerS,ESQUIRE Attorney at law
Best in the burgh!!
Posted by Casey
May 21, 2016
"Rebecca has been my lawyer for over 5 years. She has helped me through the toughest times in my life. From my separation, divorce, and custody issues Rebecca handled each of them with diligence and compassion! She is everything I could hope for in a lawyer and now consider her my friend. Look no further she is the best in Pittsburgh!"
So glad I found her!
Posted by Leanne
June 2, 2016
"I was so happy that a friend recommended Rebecca! Prior to meeting her, I was with another attorney that I was very unhappy with. From our first meeting, I knew I was in great hands! She identified several mistakes that my attorney had made that would have cost me thousands of dollars!! Rebecca is an expert in her field, professional, and so easy to talk to. She was always so responsive to my questions and concerns and got back to me right away. Her communication is superb and I always felt like I knew what was going on with my case. Going thru divorce and child custody was one of the most stressful times of my life that was made so much better by having her as my attorney! Can't say enough good things about her! I would highly recommend!!"
ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION
Posted by anonymous
June 23, 2013
"While you may be in a situation with Family Court that you have no desire to be in, you need to find a good attorney to navigate it. Rebecca is that attorney and she will listen to your concerns, honestly let you know what your best options are to accomplish your goals, help you make the important decisions you need to make, and fight for everything you deserve! I would HIGHLY recommend her to anyone going through child custody problems or divorces."
Great Solid Lawyer
Posted by anonymous
November 5, 2013
"Rebecca represented me in a divorce case at a particularly difficult time in my life. From the outset I found her to have a solid knowledge of the law and was a great support negotiating through the process. Her advice on expectations was realistic. As a person, she was concerned but also had a good sense of humor which made working with her a pleasure".
Solid, precise and very no-nonsense
Posted by anonymous
May 19, 2016
"Rebecca handled my very stressful custody case and is currently handling my divorce. Its a terrible ordeal to go through. I have peace going through this process because of her. She is so on-point. She knows exactly what she's doing and she does it precisely and confidently while being so personable. I feel reassured when I'm in her presence because of her knowledge - she knows the law, and I can assure you she will never be surprised or blindsided in the courtroom. She covers all the bases and is ready and very prepared. She has such a good nature and that sets her high above other attorneys, because you want someone who is confident and knows the law, and at the same time, her wonderful personality makes her approachable and so likeable. She's very strong. When you meet with her, you will immediately sense her strength. As you talk with her, she will put you at ease with her humor - and those qualities together really sets her apart from other attorneys. I am very grateful for her."