In today's society, approximately half of all marriages will end in divorce. Tragically, those statistics are even worse for second and third marriages. When men and women walk down the aisle they rarely anticipate that their marriage will one day end in divorce. But, when that day comes it's commonly known as one of the most stressful experiences an adult will ever have to go through, only second to the death of one's child. Considering the inherent stress and anxiety involved in the divorce process, it's absolutely critical that one enlist the services of a highly qualified Pasadena divorce attorney or mediator.
Attorney Mark B. Baer has had the great fortune of helping people resolve their family law matters all throughout the greater Los Angeles area since 1991. Mr. Baer advocates mediation or collaborative law rather than litigation to those involved in divorce, paternity or other family law-related matters. Litigation attorneys tend to resolve matters in an adversarial manner, regardless of the field of law. Cases involving family matters should not be handled in the same way that attorneys would handle a criminal case, a medical malpractice case or a toxic tort case. Litigation tends to exacerbate the level of conflict, which tends to increase the amount of time and expense required to resolve the matter. However, mediation and collaborative divorce can decrease the conflict while resolving legal and other issues, simultaneously addressing emotions and feelings.
Collaborative divorce is a process within which to resolve family law issues in a fair and respectful manner, without going to court. It is much like a mediation wherein the spouses each have separate legal representatives, but without the mediator. Both mediation and collaborative divorce involve interest-based negotiation. However, in collaborative divorce, an interdisciplinary team is assembled of attorneys, mental health, and financial professionals working interactively with the clients as co-equals. The attorneys guide the clients through the legal process to reach a negotiated settlement. The coaches assist them in managing their anxiety, improving the way in which they communicate with each other, creating an effective parenting plan, and restructuring their family. The child specialist is a neutral third party whose job is to understand the situation from the perspective of the child(ren) and to advocate for their interests. The financial professionals help to educate the clients regarding the best ways to divide their assets, and to plan for the financing of two households.
One would expect that since collaborative professionals are using mediation techniques in a multi-disciplinary team approach to dispute resolution, the professionals involved would be trained in both mediation and in the collaborative process. Unfortunately, as with many things in life, it is not wise to make assumptions. Some collaborative divorce organizations require their members to receive training in collaborative practice, mediation, negotiation and communication skills, and annual continuing education. However, such organizations are the exception rather than the rule. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the clients to ensure that each of the professionals involved on their team have such training.
In any event, the result is that we are able to support them through their transition in a knowledgeable, compassionate and non-adversarial way so that they are able to make the best decisions for their family. The attorneys pledge to not litigate the matter or threaten to litigate the matter. The reason for this pledge is that litigation/judicial involvement is one way of solving a problem. If that means of problem solving is available to collaborative practitioners, they will more likely resort to that option rather than assisting the parties in developing more creative, constructive and effective alternatives for the clients and their family. If the case cannot be settled, and the process of collaboration fails, the same attorneys cannot be involved in any future litigation. Many people fear the cost of a collaborative divorce because of the number of professionals involved. Remember that of all professionals involved, the attorney's rate is generally the highest. The total cost of a collaborative divorce is estimated to be one-half (1/2) to two-thirds (2/3) the cost of a litigated divorce.
Rarely is a legal problem purely legal, especially in family law. Almost all disputes involve emotional and interpersonal dynamics. Successfully resolving those disputes requires skills beyond those traditionally taught in law schools. Collaborative divorce incorporates all of the skills needed to increase the likelihood of a successful outcome for the client through its interdisciplinary team approach to divorce. In other words, the spirit of collaborative divorce is its interdisciplinary team approach.
With a collaborative divorce, the divorcing spouses work together to sort out critical issues over debt division, asset division, property division,
child custody and visitation,
child support and
alimony (if any). Collaborative divorces are much easier on all the parties involved, especially the children. Studies have proven that parents who engage in a collaborative divorce are far more inclined to adhere to their child custody and visitation agreements, and these types of divorces make the divorce process far easier on any children that are involved. Therefore, not only do the parents benefit, but the children are less inclined to experience the adverse effects of parents involved in a contentious and heated divorce proceeding. In the end, the couple comes to terms about the specific arrangements to be stated in their divorce decree and they are able to avoid the expense of costly litigation. A collaborative divorce may be the perfect solution for a couple whose marriage is ending but want to ensure their family dynamics are preserved or improved.
Mr. Baer discusses the process of collaborative divorce in more depth in several of his articles, including, but not limited to, " Navigating the Emotional Waters within Collaborative Family Law," "
A Comparison of Dispute Resolution Methods Available in Family Law Matters," and "'
Collaborative Divorce' Is Collaborative in Name Only."
Collaborative Law Services from Attorney Mark B. Baer
Mark B. Baer is a trained collaborative law practitioner and has worked with clients in all types of family law matters including divorce, child custody, child and spousal support, and property division. As a collaborative practitioner, Mr. Baer would work together with other members of the team (which includes both spouses) to help the couple determine the best ways to address the issues in need of resolution.
Call today to discuss your collaborative divorce questions with Mr. Baer. There are many benefits to working with a collaborative divorce practitioner in your divorce. He will give you additional details about the collaborative law process and how he can help.
Click on the video below to view my interview on KTLA 5, wherein I discuss collaborative divorce.
Click on the video below to see a special documentary about Collaborative Divorce and this couple's real experience.