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).


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