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Collaborative Family Law

Washington, D.C. Collaborative Family Law Attorneys

A new and constructive way to avoid going to court

The law firm of Kuder, Smollar, Friedman & Mihalik, PC is proud to be a leader in helping families use collaborative family law —a relatively new type of alternative dispute resolution—for contentious and stressful matters as divorce.

What is it?

Put simply, collaborative family law is a method developed in the 1980s that allows contesting parties in divorce and other types of civil union separations avoid litigation and resolve disputes respectfully.

Its chief attraction is the principle of non-litigation for problem-solving. In fact, court is not an option. Each party commits to coming to an agreement without going to court at the outset of the negotiation. Its other major attraction is that it allows parties to resolve difficult issues through a constructive team approach. Attorneys work with psychologists, family counselors, financial experts, and mediators to produce an agreed-upon path forward. It is far more than a traditional divorce proceeding and the low-stress negotiation paves the way for more amicable future relations between the divorcing parties.

The collaborative process

The collaborative divorce process contains the following elements:

  • Contesting parties sign a binding collaborative divorce participation agreement. It states that parties agrees to—
    • Each hire collaborative lawyers and other professionals only to give advice and help work out an agreement, not to litigate in court. If either party files a court case before all the issues are settled, the collaborative lawyers must withdraw and the divorcing parties must retain new counsel
    • Share complete financial information and documents with each other
  • The parties work with their team of professionals on all outstanding issues and then consult their attorneys when they are ready to deal with the financial aspects of the divorce such as property division, spousal support, child support, custody, and visitation
  • The lawyers then help negotiate an agreement that leads to a complete written settlement
  • Use of the collaborative process usually ends in a no-fault divorce

Your lawyer is your partner in the process

In any collaborative family law process, such as collaborative divorce, your lawyer is your partner and key part of your team, as your advocate. Your attorney assures that all negotiations take place during four-way meetings with both parties and their counsel, and that your team works to help you with all of your needs—legal, emotional, and financial for the short and long terms.

The process is designed for the parties to ultimately reach agreements on:

  • A financial plan—all aspects of spousal support
  • Parenting issues—custody, visitation, etc.—when children are involved
  • Division of assets
  • Other relevant matters

Using collaborative family law is not for everyone. A Kuder, Smollar, Friedman & Mihalik, PC attorney can advise you if collaboration is the right path for you to resolve issues in your divorce or separation. Our lawyers can also advise you if it is an appropriate option for modifications to existing orders. (See also “Alternate Dispute Resolution“).

Serving family law clients in Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area

Kuder, Smollar, Friedman & Mihalik, PC provides comprehensive family law services to clients in the District of Columbia, Prince George’s and Montgomery counties in Maryland, and Fairfax, Arlington and Alexandria counties in Virginia. Call us today at (202) 331-7522 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys to discuss your concerns.

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