Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative marital dissolution and family law in Buffalo, NY

In cases where people like the advantages of mediation, but are concerned that they do not have a lawyer present helping to advocate on their behalf, collaborative family law may be the solution.

Whether due to an insurmountable power imbalance that may lead to an unequal playing field in mediation, or because emotions may be running so high that a person is just not comfortable sitting alone with their spouse and the mediator, the collaborative law model gives you an alternative choice.

Collaborative family law is a method of approaching a divorce or separation in which each spouse has his or her own attorney. Both spouses and their attorneys meet together in a series of settlement meetings which often take place in a neutral location or alternative visits to each lawyer's office.

At Pusatier, Sherman, Abbott and Sugarman, we offer collaborative divorce services to help you sort through the complex and emotional issues of a divorce without the time and expense of a lengthy legal battle.

Benefits of collaborative family law and divorce

  • The goal is to arrive at a written, comprehensive settlement agreement that provides for both parties and their children.
  • At the beginning of the collaborative divorce process, both spouses and the lawyers sign a contract agreeing not to be adversarial at the meetings and instead to engage in collaborative problem-solving for all of the issues of the divorce or separation.
  • The attorneys, who have been specially trained in this process, are advocates for meeting their own client's interests and goals and are not neutral like a divorce mediator would be
  • However, the agreed-upon philosophy of this process is for both the clients and the attorneys to, as much as possible, look for win-win solutions.
  • One key feature of collaborative divorce is that the attorneys involved are not allowed to serve as litigators for their clients if the collaborative process does not succeed. This means that the attorney you select - as well as your spouse's attorney - is focused only on peaceful resolution.
  • This team approach can be further maximized by bringing in other professionals that can add expertise to this process where helpful
  • These professionals may include a counselor to assist in communication or parenting relationship problems or an accountant or financial planner to assist in a neutral evaluation of an asset or to help the parties arrive at the most wise support package or strategy for paying out an equitable distribution award.

Once an agreement is reached on all issues, the attorneys draw up a written agreement that is signed by both spouses. When the parties are ready to complete the divorce, the terms of the agreement arrived at in the collaborative law process become the terms of the divorce, and just as in mediation, the divorce can be completed without the parties or the attorneys ever having to set foot in a courtroom.

Contact our Buffalo legal team about collaborative divorce today

Steven R. Sugarman at our firm can represent you in the collaborative divorce process. For a free consultation call the law firm of Pusatier, Sherman, Abbott and Sugarman at 716-873-6765 or contact us online.

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