In a traditional divorce case, each party works with their own lawyers to obtain tax advice, valuations of property and businesses from competing professionals. When fought out in Court, these appraisals, business assessments and fights over the values of assets drive up the cost of the divorce and decrease the overall property estate to be divided. On the other hand, in a collaborative divorce, such valuations and assessments can be provided by one set of professionals that work for both parties. These neutral outside professionals evaluate the facts and circumstances of each case and advise both parties of the pros and cons of different methods of issue and case resolution. By working together with each other and their clients, they can significantly reduce the overall expense of the case.

We recently were able to collaboratively settle a large asset case with the assistance of a single collaborative professional. This process resulted in the use of a common spreadsheet, agreed asset valuation, an agreed property division and the creative use of tax planning to achieve the mutual goals and objectives of the parties. It was estimated that this process saved the parties over $200,000.00 in professional fees and expenses which would otherwise be devoted to the expense of litigation. We have also collaboratively settled cases involving addiction and mental health disorders although for some very practical reasons, these cases are more difficult to solve in a collaborative process. In such cases, savings from the collaborative process can sometimes be used to cover mental health care for family members after the split and to help repair financial damage done by the impaired spouse.

At Connolly & Shireman, our family law attorneys excel in the resolution of family law matters whether by collaboration, mediation, trial or appeal. We know the stresses of family law litigation on the clients and their children as well as the importance of well prepared and well-informed clients. Some cases have facts and situations which rule out Collaborative Family Law as a reasonable option. However, there are often cases which do not look like they would fit into the Collaborative Family Law/Alternative Dispute Resolution Model, but end up working out very well as a collaborative case. Our attorneys know how to assess your case, and we routinely engage our clients in discussions which include all available alternative dispute resolution models. If you are considering collaborative family law as a solution to your situation, contact one of our collaboratively trained attorneys and we will help you navigate through your divorce or other family law matter in a way that best suits your circumstances.

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