Divorce & Separation Resolution Through Collaborative Decision-Making in the Buffalo, NY Area
Collaborative marital dissolution and family law for Erie and Niagara counties
In cases where people like the advantages of mediation, but are concerned that they do not have a lawyer present helping to advocate on their behalf, collaborative family law may be for you. Whether due to an insurmountable power imbalance that may lead to an unequal playing field in mediation, or because emotions may be running so high that a person is just not comfortable sitting alone with their spouse and the mediator to address divorce issues, the collaborative law model may be for you. At Pusatier Sherman Abbott & Sugarman, LLP, we are pleased to offer collaborative divorce services to help you sort through the complex and emotional issues of a divorce without the time and expense of a lengthy legal battle.
Understanding the collaborative family law and divorce option
Collaborative family law is a method of approaching a divorce or separation in which each spouse has his or her own attorney. Both spouses and their attorneys meet together in a series of settlement meetings which often take place in a neutral location or alternative visits to each lawyer’s office. The goal is to arrive at a written, comprehensive settlement agreement that provides for both parties and their children.
Seeking a win-win solution for you and your spouse in New York
At the beginning of the collaborative divorce process, both spouses and the lawyers sign a contract agreeing not to be adversarial at the meetings and instead to engage in collaborative problem-solving for all of the issues of the divorce or separation. The attorneys, who have been specially trained in this process, are advocates for meeting their own client’s interests and goals and are not neutral like a divorce mediator would be; however, the agreed-upon philosophy of this process is for both the clients and the attorneys to, as much as possible, look for win-win solutions.
One key feature of collaborative divorce is that the attorneys involved are not allowed to serve as litigators for their clients if the collaborative process does not succeed. This means that the attorney you select — as well as your spouse’s attorney — is focused only on peaceful resolution. This team approach can be further maximized by bringing in other professionals that can add expertise to this process where helpful, such as a counselor to assist in communication or parenting relationship problems or an accountant or financial planner to assist in a neutral evaluation of an asset or to help the parties arrive at the most tax-wise support package or strategy for paying out an equitable distribution award.
Once an agreement is reached on all issues, the attorneys draw up a written agreement that is signed by both spouses. When the parties are ready to complete the divorce, the terms of the agreement arrived at in the collaborative law process become the terms of the divorce, and just as in mediation, the divorce can be completed without the parties or the attorneys ever having to set foot in a courtroom.
Contact our Buffalo legal team about collaborative divorce today
For a free consultation with Steven R. Sugarman at our firm about being represented in the collaborative divorce process, call the law firm of Pusatier Sherman Abbott & Sugarman, LLP at 716-873-6765 or contact us online. Our office hours are 8:30 to 5:00 Monday through Thursday and 8:00 to 4:00 on Fridays, with weekend and evening meetings available by appointment.
In collaborative law, while we can represent one spouse, the other spouse will also need to have representation by a collaboratively trained attorney to maximize the success of the process. For a listing of some of the other attorneys in our community who have undergone such training and for more information about the collaborative family law method, please visit Divorce-Buffalo: Collaborative Divorce.
For further information about collaborative law and its growing use in resolving divorce and separation issues, please visit the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP).
Recent Blog Posts
The Buffalo News reaches out to Steven Sugarman for Advice on Dealing with Disappointment and Managing Conflict Now that the 2016 Presidential Election is Over
Tuesday, November 8th, 2016
Attorney and mediator Steven Sugarman provides his advice about how to deal with contrary opinions during a divisive election in "Tips on surviving Tuesday's election, from an etiquette expert, a divorce mediator, a boxing referee".
Wednesday, September 7th, 2016
Pusatier, Sherman, Abbott & Sugarman, LLP partner Richard Abbott, Esq. and associate Audrey Rose Herman, Esq. volunteered for the recent Elmwood Village Festival of the Arts, a local non-for-profit.
Steven Sugarman Coaches University at Buffalo Law School Students To Great Success in International Competition
Wednesday, September 7th, 2016
The University at Buffalo School of Law’s CJ Cook and Joe Lavoie took second place at the Consensual Dispute Resolution Competition in Vienna, Austria. They were coached by professor and professional mediator Steven R. Sugarman, Esq. They credit their success to their ADR classes at UB, their training with Professor Sugarman, and the intensive workshop at the competition.