A more peaceful alternative to traditional litigation for York, Lancaster, and Chester County residents
Longfellow wrote that “Into each life some rain must fall.” In no scenario is that truer than in divorce proceedings. Even the most non-contentious divorce can leave parties feeling strained and anxious.
At Holland Law, I take the view that divorce doesn't need to become a more arduous path than it already is for both parties, and their families. You can both walk away with better results, less stress, and lower legal fees by engaging in what is a smarter way to handle divorce and family law matters. Through the use of mediation or collaborative law, I am able to tailor a plan to fit each client's specific divorce needs.
What is mediation and how does it work?
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution which allows both parties to solve conflicts without court intervention. It is required in family court cases in South Carolina. In essence, the couple meets with a neutral mediator who will negotiate between the parties to attempt to reach a solution to each issue in dispute. How you choose to mediate your issues is up to you:
- With attorneys present, or without them (I highly recommend having your attorney present)
- In the same room, dealing with each other directly
- In separate rooms, with one mediator moving between the spaces (often called “shuffle” mediation)
Once the mediator has helped you draft an agreement, typically it will be quickly placed in front of a judge to be approved and made an order of the Court. Mediation will not work in every case, but when it does, it empowers litigants to create their own future without requiring months of litigation and hearings.
I became a Certified Family Court Mediator in 2018. My goal is to help clients come through the divorce process with minimal hostility and a healthier outlook on post-divorce life.
What are the benefits of mediation?
More people than ever are divorcing and litigating other issues in family court such as child custody, order enforcement, child support, and the like. The more cases requiring court time, the longer it takes to finalize a matter, which isn't always in the parties' best interests. There are important benefits to mediation such as:
- Resolving your case faster
- Lowering your legal fees result because you avoided litigation
- Having the experience of a professional negotiator at your fingertips
- Having the ability to design creative solutions that work for both parties
- Maintaining control over the outcome of your case
- Increasing the potential of rebuilding a civil relationship with your spouse
Remember that mediation is a private process that cannot be used at trial to gain an advantage. If it doesn't work for you, you still have the option to proceed to litigation.
What is collaborative law, and how does it work?
A collaborative divorce works under the premise that divorce can be resolved through a more cooperative process, using specialists in various areas. Each part of your divorce will be worked on by your team, who may include:
- Attorneys: Provide you legal counsel and help create the collaborative team, assist in determining the needs of both parties, and help to manage conflict.
- Mediator: Helps you both identify issues to be worked on during team meetings, has input on experts to be included in the team, and acts as a communication facilitator.
- Therapist: Helps improve communication and conflict resolution skills, work through each party's emotions, and assists in developing co-parenting skills.
- Child specialist: Talks with the children to determine their concerns and needs, may act as a sounding board for them, engages in creating a parenting plan in the best interests of the children, and makes sure the children are heard.
- Financial coach: Assesses the marital estate and its value through obtaining financial documentation from both spouses, identifies financial needs, creates a budget with short-term and long-term financial planning in mind, and creates settlement options for purposes of equitable distribution.
- Financial specialist: Provides financial education to both parties, ascertains financial issues to be resolved, and assists in managing financial expectations of the parties.
The end result is that you spend less time in court, less time arguing with one another, and focus your energy on more positive aspects of a respectful divorce. Being able to exit your marriage with less emotional and financial burden and resentment that can hold couples back from being able to move on is a primary benefit of collaborative divorce. Other benefits are:
- Greater compliance with the final order
- Focusing on the bigger picture rather than dragging one another through the dirt
- Using one set of common experts saves on arguing over differing opinions
- Encouraging healthy communication rather than fostering anger
Working with, rather than against, one another leads to better results. Learn more about how this smoother process can benefit your entire family by scheduling a consultation with me today.
Feelings of hurt and betrayal when a marriage ends drives us to want our spouse to feel the same way we do. I believe in the ability of most couples to resolve their differences without going to war with one another, but most couples simply don't realize that they have that option. My training and certification in collaborative divorce by the International Association of Collaborative Professionals qualifies me to help parties seeking a more peaceful alternative to the traditional drawn-out courtroom battles that most couples have come to see as the only way out.
“The greatest victory is that which requires no battle” – Sun Tzu
When faced with divorce, most parties think there's only one way out. At Holland Law, I believe that the best approach is sometimes to let cooler heads prevail by working together to end your marriage with dignity. If you live in York, Lancaster, or Chester County and are considering divorce, schedule your consultation with me today in either my Fort Mill office on Gold Hill Road, or in my Rock Hill office on Oakland Avenue by calling 803-590-6649, or feel free to reach out to me through my contact page.