While there might be a perception that Ohio divorces are contentious and rife with acrimony making it nearly impossible for the parties to reach common ground, there are many cases in which negotiation can be effective. Collaborative family law differs from a case in which the sides are seeking a divorce and head to court to achieve it. Understanding the law for this process is a fundamental factor when considering it as an alternative.
The beginning and end of the collaborative law process
For there to be a collaborative law process, the sides must first sign an agreement to participate. Once the sides have decided to take part, the process can end in the following circumstances: if they can come to a negotiated and signed settlement of the entire case; negotiate a settlement of part of the case with the remaining issues unresolved; or a termination of the process with no agreement. The process will terminate if one side or the other gives recorded notice that it is concluded.
With the collaborative law proceeding, the case will be terminated if one party or the other pursues a pleading, asks for a court conference, makes a motion or an order to show cause; asks that the case be placed on the court docket; or takes an action in which notice must be sent to the parties in the case. A collaborative attorney can also withdraw from the case, thereby terminating it. There does not need to be cause to terminate the collaborative law process. The person can just decide to no longer take part and it can end.
When considering collaborative law, experienced advice may help
People often mistake collaborative law for mediation. Mediation is when an impartial third person tries to assist the sides in reaching common ground without legal help. Collaboration involves a collaborative law attorney representing the sides in a non-confrontational way. This may facilitate a reasonable settlement that each spouse can accept and avoid the need to go to court. When thinking about using the collaborative approach, it is important to know if it is applicable and may be effective. Consulting with a legal firm that is experienced in collaborative law can help.