Law Office of Aida Doss Havel
PO Box 676
Rodanthe, NC 27968
Collaborative law is the “invention” of a Minneapolis attorney named Stu Webb, who in 1990 walked out of the courthouse and declared that from then on he would seek to resolve family law cases peacefully and cooperatively. He started a movement that now has thousands of practitioners worldwide and even more thousands of clients who have discovered that it is possible to separate and divorce with dignity, respect, and privacy.
In collaborative law, each party has an attorney who is trained in collaborative law. All four people involved in the process sign a pledge to share information openly, to speak civilly to one another, and to allow the attorneys to withdraw if the parties are unable to reach an agreement after four or five meetings.
The parties share all important information at the very first “four way” meeting, which includes pay stubs, income tax returns, deeds and deeds of trust, financial account statements, credit card statements, and other relevant financial information.
At subsequent meetings, the parties and their attorneys have a series of conversations about their children, their cash flow, and their property and debt. They try to reach cooperative solutions that take into account all points of view and that make the most sense from all angles. If appraisers are necessary (for example, to place a value on a business or a house), the parties agree to hire one appraiser, rather than each hiring dueling appraisers. If children are involved, child psychologists are frequently invited into the process to help discuss developmental stages and create shared parenting plans.
The advantages of collaborative law include privacy, control over the outcome, less emotional turmoil, lower costs, and the realization that divorce doesn’t have to turn into a soap opera or bad reality TV show. Instead, you can proceed to build a new life with your dignity and self-respect intact… and in so doing, your children will also benefit.
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