Sherri Cothrun and Rita Lucido have been trained in the practice of collaborative family law since 2005 and have represented clients with small, medium, and large estates and in suits involving children.
What is Collaborative Family Law?Collaborative Family Law is a less adversarial process for clients and their lawyers to resolve property division and child custody issues by problem solving and negotiation out side the courtroom.
How does the collaborative family law process work?The parties and their lawyers agree in writing to make a good faith effort to resolve the issues relation to the divorce without litigation. This contract provides that if there is a failure to settle all matters between the parties in the collaborative process, the two attorneys’ must withdraw form the case and the parties have to retain new counsel to proceed with the divorce at Court. It is rare for the case to end up at the courthouse because the parties and the attorneys are all invested in the process of the settlement using the collaborative family law process.
How long does the collaborative family law process take?A series of meetings are scheduled in which all four participants (lawyers and clients) attend and work on various issues of the divorce case. There is no standard number of meetings and each case is different. The collaborative family law statute provides that the case can be on file up to two years and there is a 60 day waiting period after the divorce is filed. The average divorce takes between 3 to 5 months.
Who else attends the meetings?In some cases, professionals such as financial planner, business evaluators and mental health providers are brought into the process to assist the parties.
What are the advantages of the collaborative family law process and traditional way to get divorced?. The process encourages the amicable resolution of the divorce which helps to maintain the ability to co-parent after the divorce. • The entire process is private and confidential unlike the very public court hearings and court file. • The case is not controlled by the Court’s scheduling docket which allows the parties to go at their own pace toward settlement. • It can be less expensive in attorney’s fees and expert fees. There is not formal discovery in collaborative family law and the parties agree on any experts that may be required saving thousands of dollars for the marital estate.