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Divorce using alternative dispute resolution

Though many people believe that divorce is synonymous with a long and protracted court battle, Pennsylvania families are able to settle their differences by using alternative dispute resolution. Alternative dispute resolution, which can sometimes be less taxing emotionally and financially, encompasses mediation, Collaborative Law, and cooperative practice.

Some family law attorneys focus their practice on alternative dispute resolution in recognition of the prolonged and heightened hostility that being in court can foster between once civil spouses or parents. Partners that may have at one time been able to resolve the smaller issues on their own can begin arguing over the most invaluable of possessions once litigation starts.  Many experienced alternative dispute resolution practictioners believe that helping people to discuss these issues in a productive and healthy way will help both parties reach a resolution that addresses their needs and maintains some civility for the future.

Mediation, for instance, can be a viable option for spouses and parents who are interested in being heard while also acknowledging and respecting the needs and concerns of the other party. Most often the impartial mediator will meet with both parties jointly and help them generate options that address both of their needs.  Both parties will have the ability to consult with their legal counsel privately about the legal implication of the options generated. Once the parties have reached an agreement, the terms are memorialized in a memorandum from which a more formal agreement can be prepared.

An experienced mediator can assist parties in finding the best solutions for their specific needs.  Pennsylvania residents who are looking to divorce with dignity or maintain a civil co-parenting relationship should meet with a Pennsylvania family law attorney to determine if an alternative dispute resolution option could work for them.

Source: lowellsun.com, "Making his case: Divorce without the court", Alana Melanson, Jan. 21, 2018

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