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  • Laura L. Van Tassel, Esq.

Divorce: The Process Can Impact The Outcome.

How you get from being married to divorced is a process and this process can figure into the final outcome. I strongly believe and advocate for a process that is fair and where both parties have an open table to speak. How do you get this process? Through mediation or the collaborative process.

Mediation is done by a neutral professional who has been trained in mediation. I recommend the use of attorneys who have practiced family and divorce law and then taken that added step and effort to take the time to train and hone their skills as mediators. A mediator does not represent either of the parties – the mediator may be an attorney — but they are not the attorney for either party. Rather they are there to work with both of you to work out a resolution on all of your issues.

Mediators can rely on other professionals to help the parties reach a settlement such as an accountant to help with tax issues, or a real estate professional to discuss the price of a house or the cost of housing.

Mediation is conducted in the privacy of the office of the mediator and at a time and schedule that fits the needs of the parties. The mediator will help the parties reach a settlement that they both can rely on and live with into the future.

In mediation the parties are often advised to seek legal advice from another attorney. You may ask why, doesn’t that run up the cost? Yes, it may cost something to speak to an attorney, but the attorney can advise you as to how the law applies to you in a particular situation — something the mediator cannot do is advise as to how the law applies to a particular party in a particular matter (remember they are neutral).

The parties sit with the mediator on their own. But some folks sprefer to have the attorney with them, for them the is the Collaborative Process.

Collaborative Process requires both parties to retain lawyers who have been trained in the collaborative process. The essential part of this process is that although there are two lawyers they cannot take the matter to court if the parties do not settle. This helps everyone to work toward settlement (the attorneys can assist in going to court to put through the divorce).

In Collaborative Process neither side threatens to go to court nor neither can they say “let’s see what the judge has to say about that.” The two attorneys and two parties sit together to work out all of the issues in a series of meetings.

Similar to the Mediation Process, the Collaborative Process allows the attorneys to rely on accountants, real estate professionals & therapists to name a few to help the parties reach settlement.

You do not have to litigate – there are alternatives and you need to seek out a mediation friendly or collaborative attorney to explain how these process can specifically work for you and your family.

The important features of collaborative and mediation divorce are:


  • Spouses are represented by collaborative attorneys

  • Spouses and attorneys sign a “no court” agreement (attorneys must withdraw if case goes to court)

  • Spouses and attorneys negotiate in “four-way” meetings

  • Attorneys may recommend involving collaborative professionals

  • Informal

  • Flexible

  • More efficient than litigation

  • Less expensive than litigation.


  • Neutral person (mediator) helps you negotiate

  • Mediator has no power to decide the case

  • Informal

  • Flexible

  • No obligation to hire a lawyer or other adviser

  • Efficient—less time consuming than litigation, and

Inexpensive—compared to litigation.

Bottom Line: These processes often results in a settlement involving far money, time, and emotion than the traditional divorce process.

To learn more about which process is best for you, feel free to contact me for a consultation. Call me at: 201) 664. 8566 or e-mail me at today to schedule an appointment and leave with a plan of action.

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