Alternative Dispute Resolutions

Alternative Dispute Resolutions

There are other ways of settling disputes besides going to Court. Three ADRs I use in my practice are Mediation, Co-Mediation, and Collaborative Divorce. Choosing litigation puts you in the "boxing ring" against your partner and puts your children in the middle; the judge decides your futures. Choosing a more dignified, peaceful route to formulating a co-parenting agreement and a property partition gives you more autonomy and more control over the outcome of the dissolution of your marriage.

"Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often a real loser -- in fees, expenses, and waste of time. As a peacemaker the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough. Never stir up litigation. A worse man can scarcely be found than one who does this."

- Abraham Lincoln, 1 July 1850

As a Louisiana qualified mediator and your divorce mediator, I will meet with both spouses to help you draft your co-parenting plan. When you are satisfied with it, you then bring it to your attorney(s) to write a consent judgment. You can also begin the process of partitioning your property in mediation, after which attorneys can draft documents to be filed in Court.
(The Co-Mediation model)

My colleagues and I have created a hybrid between traditional mediation and collaborative divorce using both an attorney and myself as co-mediators. The co-parenting plan and the property partition are the work documents we work toward. However, the parties get the benefit of the skill sets of both an attorney and mental health mediator, and get the coaching they need to build a functional partnership in their new coparenting relationship as divorced parents.

Collaborative Divorce
(Interdisciplinary Model)

In the Collaborative Divorce model, clients have their own attorney and mental health coach; and they share a financial specialist and a child specialist who are both neutrals. As your collaborative divorce coach, I have extensive experience to help you be your best adult self throughout your divorce process, and to keep you positively matriculating toward your goal. My main goal is to help you stay "collaborative".

Alternatives to Ligitation

There are several alternatives to litigation when faced with separation and divorce. Fighting, especially between parents, has severe negative consequences for their children, whose safety, mental health, and peace of mind and heart should always be thought of first. Sadly, children are often an afterthought and are the casualties of a protracted courtroom battle.

What if, in the alternative, the two parents were able to come together, with or without representation, to strategize about how they will look after the needs of their children when divorced? What if, in the alternative, the children would not be in a position to be compulsorily examined by two sets of child custody examiners, or to have to testify in Court? What if you could eliminate Court altogether? What if you could cut your legal fees in half or by two-thirds?

Choosing an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is the solution that can satisfy all of these. We have found Collaborative Divorce to be the crown jewel of ADRs. It works the best with the best outcomes for our clients and their children. From 2004 when we began using the model in South Louisiana to December 2010, I have had 46 collaborative cases, which gives me a lot of experience and competency in the model as well as the necessary rapport needed to collaborate effectively with other professionals. In the Collaborative Divorce Alliance of New Orleans, my peers and I have found using the model for the past 6 years that the cost of collaborative divorce can be estimated to be approximately half of what would be spent to finalize a divorce through traditional litigation. There are more professionals involved from the beginning in a collaboration so it looks more expensive in the beginning requiring multiple retainers. However, when all the bills are tallied, we find that it costs much less than it does to go to Court.

Still, the Collaborative crown jewel can be pricier than many middle class families can afford in the New Orleans metro area. To that end, I and a couple of my colleagues, who have practiced the Collaborative Divorce model successfully, have created a hybrid between traditional mediation and collaborative divorce that brings the cost down significantly, while helping clients achieve the same ends. The hybrid calls for two co-mediators - an attorney and a social worker. Together with our complementary skill sets, we can help you write-up your own co-parenting plan that will govern how you care for your children and begin helping you to partition your property.

Alternative Dispute Resolutions

    Divorce Mediation
      1 professional
      2 professionals: 1 social worker & 1 attorney
    Collaborative Divorce - Interdisciplinary Model
      6 professionals: 2 mental health coaches, 2 attorneys,1 neutral financial specialist & 1 neutral child specialist

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