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The divorce process can be long, costly and emotionally draining. However, not every divorce must end up in a courtroom, as there are several alternative dispute resolution options available to separating spouses and parents. One Pennsylvania lawmaker recently extolled the benefits behind her new bill, which would help codify one such option that is known as collaborative law.

Pennsylvania representative, Kate Klunk, who has sponsored the bill, believes that having collaborative law statutorily defined will allow more divorcing couples to separate in a way that is least disruptive to them and their minor children. This type of alternative dispute resolution allows each spouse to retain separate legal counsel to represent their legal interests through each step of the collaborative process. Moreover, neutral third parties, including mental health professionals, financial advisors and child specialists are utilized to facilitate discussions aimed at reaching a settlement that meets both spouse’s needs.

The success of this type of dissolution requires the willing particiaption of both spouses and their collaboratively-trained counsel.  This means that all parties are required to be forthright and provide all requested documents. If either party decides to pursue litigation or counsel discovers that their client has withheld or failed to disclose relevant information, both parties must seek new counsel. 

Several other states have chosen to pass similar legislation, and Representative Klunk believes it is appropriate for Pennsylvania to follow suit. Pennsylvania residents who are seeking a divorce and have questions about alternative dispute resolution options available to them should consult with a family law attorney

Both Attorney Purdy and Attorney Hastings at Purdy Law Office, LLC are trained collaborative law attorneys and are happy to discuss whether the collaborative law process is a good fit for you.

Source: ydr.com, “Here’s a better way to handle divorces in Pa.,” Rep. Kate Klunk, Dec. 7, 2017