Negotiation is a way to resolve family law disputes through direct communications between lawyers. It is often the first step after all the relevant information has been gathered and exchanged. Effective negotiation on your behalf requires knowledge of the law and facts and some creativity to arrive at a solution that both parties can accept. Our knowledge, experience, and strategic guidance are the advantage for our clients in the negotiation process.
Mediation is a process in which the parties try to reach an agreement through a neutral person called a mediator. A mediator assists with identifying issues and finding solutions for all matters of family law, including parenting, support, and property division. Parties can try mediation before a court case is started or at any time during the court process. The mediation process is completely voluntary, less costly, and typically results in lasting solutions.
If a negotiated settlement cannot be reached, the parties can choose to have their dispute determined through arbitration. The arbitration process can be tailored to suit the needs of the parties, having regard to the nature, extent and complexity of the family law issues in dispute. The parties choose the arbitrator and the parameters of the process. The arbitrator makes a private, legally binding decision that is enforceable by the court. Like court proceedings, having highly-skilled counsel is paramount to the success of your case.
Collaborative family law:
Collaborative Practice is a client-directed, out-of-court process designed to minimize conflict and avoid the adversarial nature of litigation by prioritizing transparency, full disclosure, and interests-based dispute resolution.
At the start of the CP process, both parties and their lawyers sign a Participation Agreement and commit to working in a good faith, collaborative, and cooperative manner to explore and arrive at creative solutions which meet the family’s interests, without engaging an independent decision-maker such as a judge or arbitrator. The parties also agree that should the CP process terminate, neither lawyer can participate in any court proceedings or arbitration process on behalf of their client in the future, requiring each party to retain new lawyers if the CP process breaks down. As there is a cost to retaining new counsel, there is an incentive for both parties to resolve the family law issues within the CP process, without the threat of litigation.
The CP process involves a series of meetings (as many as necessary) with lawyers and parties present. At these meetings and, in fact, through the whole process, the parties inform the agenda, with guidance and advice from counsel. An integral part of the process, where necessary, is the joint retainer of outside specialists (financial planners, valuators, accountants, social workers, child psychologists, etc.) to help the family with the issues arising from their separation.
Lawyers at Lindsey MacCarthy have the specialized training required to represent you in a CP matter and can advise you whether your matter is appropriate for the Collaborative Practice process.
When parties cannot resolve their family law matters through other processes, such as negotiation, mediation or collaborative practice, or when immediate action is needed due to safety or hardship issues, litigation may be the only option.
Litigation is the court process by which judges are engaged to determine family law disputes by making legally binding court orders after consideration of evidence put forward by the parties. We have the expertise and skill to guide and assist you through the various stages of the court process. Litigation is often used in tandem with other methods for dispute resolution to avoid an expensive trial, unless absolutely necessary.
Unbundled legal services, limited scope retainers, and litigation coaching:
Limited scope retainers and/or unbundled legal services are situations where a lawyer provides limited legal services to a client in their family law matter. A limited retainer may be crafted to assist you for specific meetings, negotiations, or at particular points in your case for legal advice, preparation or review of documents, or for limited representation in court for a specific conference or hearing.
We can also be retained to provide advice and litigation coaching to assist you when you represent yourself in court or at a hearing, to familiarize you with court process and procedures.
Limited scope retainers and unbundled services are meant to provide legal insight and guidance at an affordable cost and facilitate better access to justice in family law. We offer individualized, cost-sensitive services, tailored to each client’s situation and budget. Our lawyers provide focused and practical litigation coaching to help clients better understand and navigate the complex family law process.
Private representation of children:
Sometimes it is in a child’s best interests to have their own lawyer in family law disputes to offer protection, to give the child a voice, and to assist in determining the strength, consistency and independence of their views. Judges can appoint a lawyer on the request of one or both parents, or if they think it is necessary to protect the child’s interests. Sometimes our mandate to represent a child will also involve a private mental health professional.
Family law disputes can be hard on children. When representing a child, our lawyers handle each unique situation, and child, with care and sensitivity. Our goal is to always find the best possible solutions, tailored to each individual child.