Seder & Chandler, LLP
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Taking a closer look at ADR options in divorce

In last week’s post, we explored options that may save divorcing couples time, expense and emotional upset. Indeed, divorce does not have to be a scorched earth affair. Approaches that seek to avoid or minimize courtroom litigation generally fall under the category of alternative dispute resolution.

Yet a couple may need guidance about which ADR process best suits their needs. A recent article explores how the ADR options of collaborative divorce and mediation may allow couples to part ways with dignity.

The Massachusetts court system allows divorce with minimal court involvement, through approaches like mediation and collaborative divorce. Collaborative divorce can begin without the court’s involvement. The parties and their attorneys simply meet and attempt to negotiate a divorce settlement. If agreement is reached, it can be reduced to writing and presented to the court.

With the ADR option of mediation, a neutral mediator works separately and jointly with the parties to help them reach an agreement. Each party may also have an attorney present during those meetings. The mediator is subject to the court’s supervision, and any breakdown in the mediation may result in a referral back to litigation.

For those who are apprehensive at proceeding with minimal court involvement, rest assured that the attorneys at our law firm have experience negotiating sophisticated marital agreements on behalf of our clients. When matters require the input of a subject matter expert before breaching certain topics, such as complex asset division, they may elect to share an expert and review his or her opinion before proceeding. For example, a forensic accountant’s analysis of the marital estate may be required before the parties can agree to certain property division issues.

Source: Daily Record, “Is divorce with dignity possible? NJ experts weigh in,” MaryLynn Schiavi, July 7, 2016

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