Three Distinct Processes Utilized During the Course of Divorce
THE LITIGATION PROCESS
Just the thought of dissolving a marriage can be excruciating. And making it a reality could often be a living nightmare, sometimes made even worse by the lawyers themselves! Brenda Nelms approaches the litigation process in a way that minimizes not only the emotional trauma to her clients, but the financial cost as well. Her goal is to achieve a more amicable, less expensive divorce by using common sense, maintaining civility and cooperation (between clients and opposing attorneys), sharing information and fostering understanding. And when children are involved, there is always a special emphasis on protecting them from the harmful effects that can often result from family crisis. Hers is an approach that helps prevent the nasty, war-like scenarios that so often mark the way traditional divorce litigation plays out. It is an approach that discourages opposing counsel from making unreasonable demands and often eliminates the need for unnecessary (and expensive) court appearances and court-related paperwork.
This approach results in a speedier resolution that is: 1) easier on all parties involved; and 2) helps keep attorney fees reasonable and controllable.
THE MEDIATION PROCESS
Mediation is a process that assists divorcing couples to reach an agreement on all pertinent issues without opposing lawyers doing battle for them.
The process occurs in a series of sessions with both spouses and the Mediator that, depending on the complexity of the situation, can span the course of one day or a few months. Mediation creates an environment of working together to resolve issues, one by one, by the individuals whose futures will be most affected… the husband and wife. When conflicts arise, the Mediator will help them to understand each other’s concerns, better enabling them to reach decisions that satisfy the needs of both parties. It is a process that allows the parties to reach their goal via shared decision-making, fairness, dignity and, above all, in an atmosphere that is healthier for everyone who is ultimately touched by the separation and divorce.
The result of the Mediation process is an agreement by the individuals that is usually reached in a fraction of the time, and at a fraction of the cost of many traditional litigated proceedings. The result is a unique agreement that is created by the parties, without the often arbitrary and binding decisions of an uninterested third party (the judge).
THE COLLABORATIVE PROCESS
Connecting the gap between Litigation and Mediation, the Collaborative Law approach contains aspects of both. Many people, for various reasons, are just not comfortable negotiating for themselves. For example, there may be an evident imbalance of power or control between the spouses.
Or, some people would just rather not trust themselves during such emotional and vulnerable times to adequately speak up for their own interests. In this process the dynamics of the spousal relationship are neutralized, creating an even playing field. Both parties retain separate, specially trained lawyers to represent them and assist in resolving issues fairly and equitably without either going to court or threatening to do so. Participants agree to work respectfully, honestly and in good faith to find solutions that meet the reasonable needs of both spouses.
Like Mediation, the process consists of several sessions, not in court, but in a conference room environment with clients and attorneys present. This promotes a willingness on everyone’s part to listen to each other, compromise where necessary and, ultimately, reach a fair settlement in a timely and cost-efficient manner.