Collaborative Divorce and Family Law Attorneys in Columbus, Ohio
Dissolution of Marriage • Alternative Dispute Resolution • Property Division • Debt Division
In addition to divorce and dissolution, Ohio law firm provides for a Collaborative Family Law Process (known as the “Ohio Collaborative Family Law Act”) which allows parties terminating their marriage to control their own destiny. Rather than having a judge divide their property and dictate how they will care for their children, the couple is able to work together with a team of professionals to decide these matters themselves. This is done through a series of meetings with the parties, their counsel, and any agreed upon other professionals.
It has been said that terminating a marriage really consists of two “divorces” – both legal and emotional. The team approach available to parties in the collaborative family law process allows parties the opportunity to deal with both the legal and emotional divorce. Of course, the attorneys and financial professionals handle the “legal divorce”, and the family health professionals assist the parties in dealing with the “emotional divorce”.
Costs are greatly reduced when compared to a contested divorce, and while a contested divorce with children takes an average of 18 months in the court system, the collaborative family law process can usually be finished in about three to six months (depending on your particular circumstances). If you’re interested in the collaborative family law process, contact our Columbus family law firm today.
The Collaborative Process In Hilliard and Upper Arlington
As a longstanding member of The Central Ohio Academy of Collaborative Divorce Professionals, Inc., certain protocols are followed by the members or our group for each collaborative divorce case. After each spouse has hired a member collaborative law attorney, they will attend a communication assessment with a member the family health professional. This assessment is conducted before the first collaborative meeting. The purpose of this assessment is to attempt to determine issues that may prevent the parties from effectively communicating during the collaborative family law process. This assessment ensures (1) that the attorneys are aware of any potential communication issues which they are not trained to detect and (2) the process can be more efficient by avoiding potential communication pitfalls which could lead to more collaborative meetings. By reducing the number of meetings, the clients save money.
Entering into the collaborative family law process requires the signing a collaborative participation agreement. This is typically reviewed in detail during the initial collaborative meeting and may be signed then or at some later time. Once the collaborative participation agreement is signed a meeting schedule will be established. Before each meeting an agenda is prepared and circulated to ensure that there are no surprises at the meeting, unless there is an emergency that needs to be discussed. The agenda items will likely include your children, assets, support, circumstances, goals, and agenda items for the next meeting. If additional professionals, such as accountants, appraisers, etc. are required, they are chosen by agreement. You will be the ones deciding what is in your best interest, not a court.
One benefit of collaborative divorce is that these meetings can be highly productive, and if done wisely, reduce your cost. Clients rarely feel as though they’re wasting time, as opposed to being “stuck” in litigation because all of the time and efforts of the attorneys and professionals are spent reaching an agreement. In the end, you will have worked through your differences, and you will likely be on better terms with your ex-spouse than if you had fought through a bitter protracted divorce. This is particularly true when a family health professional has been engaged and participates in the meetings.
Once you’ve reached an agreement in the collaborative family law process, and the documents have been signed, you will have a brief appearance before a judge, likely a private judge, to affirm the agreement.
At Buck, Fish & White, Ltd., we have an intimate knowledge of the collaborative family law process (or “collaborative divorce”, as it is also known). With nearly 60 years of combined experience, our firm can provide the practical, efficient, and compassionate service you need. In addition, collaborative divorce attorney Jeffrey D. Fish is a Certified Specialist in Marital and Domestic Relations Law, and he is a member of The Central Ohio Academy of Collaborative Divorce Professionals, Inc., a network of trained collaborative divorce lawyers, divorce coaches/family health professionals, and financial professionals who operate throughout Central Ohio. Jeffrey D. Fish has also completed several advanced training courses in collaborative family law.
For more information, or to set up an appointment with one of our attorneys, contact Buck, Fish & White, Ltd. today.