CONTACT US

The Pittman Group
2000 Riveredge Parkway
Suite 940
Atlanta, GA 30328
Tel: 678.742.5600
Fax: 678.742.5601
info@pittmangrp.com

COLLABORATIVE LAW SERVICES

Collaborative Family Law uses lawyers, divorce coaches, child specialists and financial consultants to solve family disputes without adversarial techniques or tactics. It is based on principles of being proactive and seeking to first understand, and then to be understood. It uses a cooperative model of negotiation and neutral experts, as indicated, to resolve conflict.

Collaborative Family Law has many advantages:

  • Lower Cost
  • Client Involvement
  • Supportive Approach
  • Less Stress Win-Win Climate
  • Speed
  • Creativity
  • Clients in Charge

The Collaborative Law Overview.

The collaborative process differs significantly from the traditional litigation process. After both parties have each retained their collaborative lawyer, the lawyers contact one another to “triage” the case. The lawyers immediately begin to address the needs of their clients by discussing their clients’ needs and desires with the other lawyer. The lawyers schedule an initial 4 way meeting which includes both lawyers and both parties. An agenda that outlines the items that will be discussed at the first meeting is sent to both parties. Any pressing issues will be covered in that first meeting, after the required participation agreements are signed. more...

At the first meeting, the parties will also identify the other professionals with whom they will be working. The other professionals include coaches, a child specialist if children are involved and a single financial neutral.

The collaborative process begins only with the signing of the Participation Agreement and Statement of Understanding by the attorneys and parties at their first 4 way meeting. After that first meeting, depending on the needs and desires of the parties, they may work with their coaches, the child specialist and/or the financial neutral before seeing their attorneys again. In this way, costs are minimized as the professional with the appropriate expertise deals with their particular area. For example, the coaches will help the parties address their communication issues in order to assist them in creating a parenting plan for their children. The child specialist will hear from the children and offer feedback to the coaches and parties to insure that the children’s developmental needs are considered. The financial neutral will gather information from the parties and work with them and the attorneys to craft a financial plan based on a realistic financial picture.

The meetings in the collaborative process promote improved communication and cooperation. The collaborative environment is one that fosters informed analysis and reasoning. In the process, the professionals and parties generate options and create a positive context for settlement. The parties always retain control over their outcome. The commitment to continued cooperation, even if communication becomes difficult, increases the likelihood of a solution that builds a foundation for the future of the family even as the parents begin separate lives.

Ultimately, once all issues are resolved, the attorneys draft a settlement agreement and the pleadings necessary to obtain a divorce. The pleadings are filed jointly and indicate to the court that the parties have reached an agreement through the collaborative process. If possible, the attorneys file a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, a document which allows a Final Judgment and Decree of Divorce to be granted by the court without the necessity of a court appearance. If the court will not grant a final divorce in that manner, one or both of the parties will appear in court for the short amount of time it takes for the court to accept their settlement agreement and grant them a final divorce.

Who practices Collaborative Law?

All professionals who practice collaborative family law focus on the family in different ways. The lawyers have an expertise in domestic relations (family law), the mental health professionals are well-versed in family systems, and the financial neutral has working knowledge of asset divisions, child support guidelines, cash flow analyses, and basic tax implications of support payments. They are specially trained in the collaborative process, commit to the Standards of Conduct and follow the Guidelines of Practice established by the Collaborative Law Institute of Georgia. more...

The professionals practicing collaboratively commit to the process as well as its outcome. Their training and education encourages mature, co-operative and non-combative behavior. They contact not to participate should the case go to court and in that way have a stake in the success of the process.

The professionals who practice collaboratively protect the privacy and dignity of all involved in the process. They uphold high standards of integrity and, if inconsistencies and miscalculations occur, seek to correct them.

Collaborative practitioners expend as much effort working toward settlement of your case as they would to prepare for and conduct a trial. Together with their clients, the collaborative professional expends his or her time and energy on settlement, parenting plans, financial analysis, and education. The parties provide complete, honest and open disclosure of all relevant information without formal proceedings.

The inter-disciplinary network of divorce professionals and their clients are committed to finding creative ways to achieve and implement a settlement that will be best for the family.