For many of us, New Year’s Day is a fresh start in more ways than one. Most years, there are more divorce petitions filed in January than in any other month. People tend to put off filing at the end of the year because the holidays are stressful enough, and folks see the New Year as a time for rebirth. After waiting out the holidays, getting through the Christmas or Hanukkah rituals for the sake of their kids and the rest of their extended families, it is finally time to take the critical step to end an unhappy marriage, to file for divorce, to begin life anew.
At the beginning of a new year, many of us reflect about what was good and what was bad in the year prior, and we seek to make changes to make the upcoming years better. We make New Year’s Resolutions. In many instances, that means ending a bad relationship. If you can relate to this feeling, it is time to seriously consider beginning your divorce, and the rest of your life.
I’m an attorney. I help people divorce each other without destroying their families (or their savings) so that they can co-parent going forward respectfully. I’m known for helping my clients restructure their families, learn to problem solve, better communicate, and improve their abilities to co-parent with each other during their divorce process.
Not only is it important to choose the right attorney to represent you, it is also important to choose the right process. At Open Palm Law, we strive to be peacemakers. We understand that a divorce is more than a business transaction. It is an emotional, life-changing event. We work to assist families to reach settlements that maximize each party’s most important interests, while restructuring, rather than destroying, their families.
Collaborative practice is a negotiation process that occurs outside of court, and is structured to ensure respectful and efficient meetings. Its focus and objective is to produce solutions that meet all parties’ needs, as well as those of the children. The parties meet directly, but with the live support of their own lawyers, as well as one or more neutrals, as needed, usually a financial professional and a mental health professional. Everyone on the support team has been specially-trained.
Meetings are not confrontational, but cooperative, focusing on the goal that the parties share of negotiating agreement without giving in, of finding acceptable resolution. The parties pledge to be transparent, freely providing information to one another and being truthful in their negotiations. “Collaborative” lawyers are trained to work with one another and the clients to manage communications, ensure that each client is heard, and explore each issue and possible solution fully. The process does not rely on court-imposed resolutions but instead permits the parties to negotiate in an atmosphere of honesty, cooperation, integrity, and professionalism geared toward the future well-being of the restructured family. In the event that the process is unsuccessful, the collaborative attorneys withdraw and trial lawyers must be retained. This assures that everyone on the collaborative team is committed to the settlement negotiation process.
The attorneys at Open Palm are also certified family law mediators. If you do not feel that your case is appropriate for collaborative practice, you may retain our firm to act as your mediators, neutral parties who facilitate settlement negotiations.
If you and your spouse have already reached an agreement, our attorneys can prepare the agreement for you to ensure that it is worded appropriately and contains all of the important issues. Or we can review and refine an agreement that you have already prepared.
Divorce discussions usually first focus on agreeing how those negotiations should occur. Understanding the different process options is an important first step in resolving your divorce. If you would like to discuss your options further, please contact our firm.
Remember, an open palm holds more than a closed fist. Don’t litigate; collaborate!