Bar News - September 14, 2012
Morning Mail: Collaborative Law Could Ease Crisis
Editor’s note: Circuit Court Administrative Judge Edwin Kelly recently urged NH attorneys to work collaboratively to settle disputes through alternative resolution methods when possible, due to a shortage of judicial officers. The Collaborative Law Alliance of New Hampshire (CLANH), an association of family law attorneys, mental health practitioners and financial professionals that promotes out-of-court collaboration to settle family law disputes, provided the following response:
Collaborative Law is an effective way to solve the problems raised by Judge Kelly because it resolves issues privately, with both parties being fully represented by attorneys. In Collaborative Law, the attorneys pledge at the outset not to go to court. In addition, the parties and their attorneys use independent experts, where appropriate, to help manage the emotional and financial aspects of the case.
In most cases, everyone benefits when divorcing parties and unmarried parents in conflict resolve their issues without going to court. Preventing emotional damage to children, keeping a privately-held family business going and shielding a company’s confidential information from public scrutiny, being able to structure an agreement that considers the authentic needs of both parties, and even the special needs of children – these are outcomes best reached through an out-of-court process based on a model of respect and constructive communication, not warfare.
We’re finding that as more families hear about collaborative practice, it is fast becoming the preferred choice for many people who are seeking divorces or are dealing with parenting plans, child support, post-divorce and parenting modifications, and other often emotion-laden issues.
More than 80 family law attorneys in New Hampshire have been trained in Collaborative Law practice. A list of Collaborative Law practitioners can be found online at www.collaborativelawnh.org or www.collaborativepractice.com.
Lisa Forberg and Kimberly Weibrecht
Co-chairs of CLANH