All Things Family Law

Discussion of all things related to family law from an Indiana divorce attorney.

This blog provides general family law and divorce law information. If you have a specific issue or case you need assistance with please contact me directly. 

Filtering by Category: mediation

Collaborative Divorce in Indiana - Indiana Divorce Mediation

Collaborative divorce or collaborative law is new way to resolve divorce and family law cases.  I am a member of the Central Indiana Association of Collaborative Professionals ("CIACP").  CIACP describes the difference between collaborative law and mediation as follows: 

What is the difference between Collaborative Law and mediation?
In mediation, there is one qualified neutral third party (typically an attorney) who assists the parties in negotiating a settlement of their case. The mediator does not represent either party to the dispute and cannot give either party legal advice, nor can the mediator advocate for either party’s position. If either party becomes unreasonable or stubborn, is emotionally distraught or unable to negotiate, the mediation process can be interrupted. A mediator may attempt to intervene to help the process resume, but if the mediator is unsuccessful, mediation can break down, or a negotiated agreement may be unbalanced. If the parties are represented by attorneys, their presence may actually contribute to the difficulties in the mediation, or their advice may come too late to be helpful.
Collaborative Law is an option to deal more effectively with potential problems for parties who may not be as prepared for mediation. While maintaining the same absolute commitment to settlement as the sole agenda, each party has quality legal advice and advocacy built in at all times during the process. Even if either party lacks negotiating skill, or is emotionally upset or angry, the process is equalized by the presence of the skilled advocates. It is the responsibility of the attorneys to encourage their clients to be reasonable to make sure that the process stays positive and productive.
CICAP has a website, here, that can provide more information regarding collaborative law and provide referrals for collaborative divorce attorneys in Carmel, Indianapolis, and throughout Indiana. 

To discuss this further please contact me

Collaborative Law - Indiana Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative law is a new option in Indiana divorce law practice, and is best thought of as another type of alternative dispute resolution (a.d.r.).  It has more in common with mediation than traditional litigation.  

What is Collaborative law?  

The International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (“IACP”), describes collaborative law as follows:

The heart of Collaborative Practice or Collaborative Divorce (also called "no-court divorce," "divorce with dignity," "peaceful divorce") is to offer you and your spouse or partner the support, protection, and guidance of your own lawyers without going to court. Additionally, Collaborative Divorce allows you the benefit of child and financial specialists, divorce coaches and other professionals all working together on your team.

In collaborative practice, parties are contractually committed to:

o   Negotiate a mutually acceptable settlement without having courts decide issues.
o   Maintain open communication and information sharing.
o   Create shared solutions acknowledging the highest priorities of all.

In practice, using collaborative law to resolve a divorce will involve a series of open, group meetings where the parties and their attorneys meet to discuss resolution.  Agenda’s are developed for these meetings and parties and attorneys collaborate to resolve preliminary and final issues for the family. The first meetings might determine preliminary custody, parenting time and support issues, as well as who will occupy the marital residence and who will be responsible for which expenses. Further meetings would focus on how to bring the case to final resolution and develop a collaborative settlement agreement. 

One of the benefits to collaborative law is that therapists (called "divorce coaches" in collaborative law), accountants, and other professionals can be used by the parties and brought to the meetings.   

Like mediation, the collaborative process is confidential. However, unlike mediation, if the collaborative process fails and the parties ultimately decide to use go to court their collaborative attorneys must withdraw and they must hire new attorneys.  

Moreover, during the process the parties and their attorneys are not allowed to threaten litigation or use litigation to resolve the divorce.  This is major difference, and is the source of much criticism of collaborative law.  But, it is the lack of litigation as a option that keeps collaborative law... well, collaborative, rather than positional.  Think of two children fighting over the best toys.  The fairest option would be for them to share the toys.  But, at some point, one child will want to grab the toys and run to Mom and/or Dad for help, or, maybe decide they want to fight for the toys. Collaborative law attempts to take away these "nuclear options" and force the children to determine on their own that it is their best interest to thing to share the toys.  

Indiana Divorce Mediation - Divorce and Family Law Mediation Rules Change

Beginning January 1, 2010, mediators can now be more helpful for parties and courts. Mediators can now assist the parties in drafting the settlement agreement, divorce decree and child support worksheets which need to be filed to make a divorce effective, or the settlement documents to resolve a paternity, custody or child support dispute. Prior the rule amendment, there was ethical 'grey area' regarding whether a mediator could draft the documents. Most mediators did not get involved in drafting the settlement documents that were to be filed with the court.

This rule change will also assist judges. With mediators creating and filing the documents, in theory, the documents will be in a format the judge will be able to review more efficiently. In cases with child-related issues there are often multiple documents that need to signed and filed. The mediators should be a better position than the parties to get the necessary documents filed.

The rule changes are available here. For a list of certified family law mediators go here.

In conjunction with the forms, child support calculator, and videos the Indiana Supreme Court has made available on its website, it is easier for unrepresented parties to resolve their disputes through mediation, rather than expensive litigation.

The review or transmission of information at this site is not legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.   All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. I make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. Should you be seeking legal advice, I recommend you retain an attorney. Please contact me  here.