Divorce - it is not an easy time for anyone.
If you were sitting in my office, the first thing I would say is:
Take a deep breath. There are alternatives to litigation.
You may be feeling emotionally out of control but you do not have to let the hurt or anger you are feeling right now define the outcome of your divorce, your future lifestyle and - most importantly if children are involved - the future of your family.
I invite you to take a look around my site and explore the easier, less costly alternative ways to divorce including meditation and collaborative process. These are family-friendly processes of negotiation that strive for a win-win resolution.
Working together in an atmosphere of respect and dignity, we will craft a mutually satisfying outcome for both you and your spouse in an informal though structured setting at your pace, with your privacy insured. If necessary, I will refer you to educational programs, financial planners, accountants, real estate agents or therapists who will help you build your future and create your new family dynamic.
I encourage you to contact me for a free half-hour consultation to explore which alternative process is the right choice for you.
What are the advantages of alternative divorce?
Mediation and the collaborative process share the same advantages over divorce court actions.
Both alternatives are:
You choose to fix the problems not the blame.
Neither of you wants to take it to court.
You want to use your resources to build your new family, not to battle each other.
Private and confidential
Out of court means no ugly, public scenes or records.
You determine the time-table with no artificial deadlines set by the courts.
You decide how to tell the children, restructure your family, provide for their future well-being.
You both make decisions about your lives without bowing to the restricted options available to a judge.
If you are more interested in resolution than revenge and want to protect your children from being caught in a cross-fire of recrimination; if you and your spouse are committed to working through the many other issues in divorce using open communication and creative problem-solving, consider mediation or the collaborative process.
The main differences between mediation and the collaborative process are the roles of lawyers and the communication flow among the key participants in the divorce.
The husband and wife talk to each other directly, the mediator is neutral. (learn more)
Each spouse has a lawyer who represents his or her interests. Each spouse meets with his or her attorney separately. Then, the couple and their respective attorneys all talk together to resolve differences and draft an agreement. (learn more)
Explore how taking a different route with these alternatives to litigation can bring you peace of mind. In your free half-hour consultation, I will help you assess your suitability and readiness to divorce using mediation or the collaborative process.
Laura L. Van Tassel, Esq., LLC.
Since earning my law degree in 1998 I have specialized in family law. Over the years, I have seen what divorce litigation can do to people in emotional turmoil. Accordingly, in 2004, I opened Van Tassel Law where I focus my practice and my professional development on alternative dispute resolution.
All too often, divorce heightens hostility between partners, forces couples to communicate exclusively through their lawyers, puts ugly feelings on public display and into public record, and drains financial resources. The result? No one gets what they want. A once-loving couple is devastated. Families are torn apart. Because of my experience, I have become a passionate advocate of alternative divorce methods including mediation and the collaborative process which lead to more positive familial outcomes than litigation.
Personal attention is the hallmark of my professional career. I handle every case myself. Each mediation session will be held with me. While I have assistance running my office, be assured, I personally handle every case and respond to all calls and email from all clients of Van Tassel Law.
Van Tassel Law is a boutique
law practice offering a wide range of other services.
Contact me when you are faced with any problem that requires expert, legal action.
Mediation is a legal process of resolving differences with he guidance of a trained, impartial, neutral third party. During mediation sessions you and your spouse talk to each other directly about what you each want for yourselves and your children. I can play one of two roles in your mediated divorce:
I met with both of you together. I objectively help you maintain perspective through emotional ups and downs, supporting you both to use disagreement as a way to develop creative solutions to your problems. I take a long term view to keep you focused on what is important and how your decisions will affect other family members and your own futures.
Acting as a legal advisor to one of you, I help you best express your needs and wants in mediation. In this role, I am subjective - on your side alone. I explain the laws that govern each of your proposals and help you explore “win-win” alternatives. I only participate in the actual mediation sessions if invited and am called a “referral attorney”.
In mediated divorce, you create your own possibilities for the future. Frequently, in the safe, informal atmosphere of mediation, you come to recognize that the well-being of the children is crucial and insuring their secure and healthy future is in the best interests of both of you.
Unlike divorce litigation, where the partners hire lawyers to speak for them and court regulations are applied uniformly despite each couple’s unique situation, divorce mediation allows you to discuss issues and solve problems together on your own terms.
Mediation is often a less costly alternative to divorce court because you and your spouse determine the pace of the negotiation.
Collaborative divorce is a voluntary, non-adversarial alternative where each spouse hires his or her own lawyer. After meeting with their lawyers separately, both partners and their lawyers negotiate a divorce settlement agreement outside of court.
Often, the collaborative divorce becomes a team effort as other professionals who can contribute expertise and education join the negotiating sessions. These collaborators can include accountants, financial planners, child custody specialists, family therapists, life coaches and real estate advisors. Your specially trained collaborative lawyers have a voice in the collaborative process but, because they pledge to withdraw if the negotiation breaks down or you decide to go to court, their best interest is in creating a mutually beneficial agreement.
Like mediation, the collaborative process is usually a less expensive and always a confidential divorce alternative, conducted in a structured setting on your time table. All in all, collaborative process results in a respectful divorce, considerate of children’s feelings and conducive to helping you heal and move forward. Both mediation and the collaborative process can be distinguished from litigated divorce not only by the satisfaction both of you feel at the outcomes but, more importantly, by what happens along the way.
Every relationship is unique. However, whether you are structuring a divorce or a pre-nuptial agreement, forming or dissolving a domestic partnership or mediating any matrimonial dispute, there are broad categories of concerns you must address.
Decisions must be made about parenting, equitable distribution of assets, debts and liabilities; support and financial futures. The list below, while far from comprehensive, gives you a rough idea of topics to be considered as you resolve a matrimonial dispute or form a union.
Equitable distribution of assets, debts and liabilities
Health/Dental/Vision Insurance - adults’ and chidren’s
Real Estate - homes, time shares
Retirement funds, pensions, 401(k), annuities
Business and Professional Assets (division of value)
Personal Property - bank accounts, stocks, CDs, mutual funds, family memorabilia, electronics, collections
Credit cards, car leases, bank loans
Income Taxes - exemptions for children, audits of previous returns, division of refunds
Future Disputes - legal fees
Van Tassel Law offers a wide range of services
Living will preparation
Parenting time and access
Powers of Attorney
Division of assets
Real estate law
Contact me when you are faced with any problem that requires expert, legal action in the following areas:
Click on any item below to view and/or print a pdf
For use in our sessions:
Table Comparing, Mediated, Collaborative and Litigated Divorce