The collaborative law model offers an alternative to a litigated family law dispute in Massachusetts. In the collaborative practice model, you and your lawyer work together with your spouse or the other parent, his or her attorney, and a neutral coach to reach your individual and mutual goals. Under the collaborative law form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), you each have a separate lawyer to represent you and guide you through the process. As needed, you may also hire joint experts to help you resolve issues such as property division or child custody/parenting plans.
If collaborative practice is the best approach for you, we will use our years of family law experience to help you reach a successful divorce or custody settlement with more control and privacy than using the litigation model.
Collaborative divorce is not for everyone. It requires two people who may have some difficulty communicating with each other, but who wish to have more control over the divorce process and who are committed to reaching a settlement. In court, many other people are involved, and you lose some control and privacy. The collaborative law process allows you and your spouse to work with your advocates to resolve issues according to your own schedules and wishes.
Often, the courts do not have enough time to give your case the attention it deserves. Collaborative law is more flexible. It can provide you and your spouse with the time, attention and resources you need to resolve your disputes. For example, you and your spouse can work together to develop a child custody and parenting plan that works for you. More importantly, you may reach a resolution without exposing your children to the conflict of a litigated divorce.
The openness of the collaborative process also provides a model for resolving future issues, such as modification of parenting plans, child visitation, child support or relocation. Collaborative law can be used to find a solution to all types of family law disputes, including dissolution of domestic partnerships, guardianships and paternity actions.
To emphasize both parties’ commitment to achieve a resolution out-of-court, the collaborative law process requires you to temporarily give up your right to go to court for dispute resolution. If the collaborative law process breaks down and you need to go to court, you and your spouse will need to hire new lawyers.
The collaborative law model is also used by unmarried or never-married parents to resolve disputes regarding custody, parenting time, or child support.
With more than 35 years of collective experience within Watertown family courts, we can guide and advise you through the collaborative law process. For more information or representation using the collaborative law model, contact the office of Linda Sternberg, Esquire.