Value Of The Collaborative Team

by Anna-Maria Pittella, Esq.

Since December 10, 2014 New Jersey has a Family Collaborative Law statute. The New Jersey Family Collaborative Law Act brings the statutory structure to New Jersey families to hire attorneys and other professionals who act solely to help the parties negotiate a full and durable agreement as to all issues relating to their marriage – support, parenting and property distributions.

With the signing of a Participation Agreement each party and the attorney representing that party pledge to use all their skills and professional experience to find resolution without going to court. The pledge empowers the parties to continue to reach an agreement without the threat of litigation from either of their attorneys. Having a fully trained collaborative attorney offsets the fear of falling to litigation and “losing” your collaborative attorney to a litigation attorney.

The collaborative training and experience of the attorney and other professionals of the team promote decision making even in the midst of emotional difficulties that are part of separation or divorce. The team is trained to help the parties focus on the future, diffuse tension and resolve impasse. Collaborative professionals spend a great deal of time enhancing these skills. They belong to collaborative practice groups, state and international organizations. They seek mediation training. They seek training in family systems and dynamics. Knowing that your collaborative professionals have that background helps you and your family achieve a successful outcome. Problem solving is the norm, not the exception.

With one purpose in mind, it is in everyone’s interest to “stay in the game”. The alternative is ghastly. The cost of litigation is enormous. The stress is consuming. Oftentimes an agreement in litigation is reached only because you can’t afford to go further or you can’t take another day. That becomes a breeding ground for resentment and anger. All the while children are swept along collecting tales of unhappy parents and their own unhappiness to share as they get older with anyone who will listen.

In a collaborative divorce, no stranger is there to make decisions as to your children, your money or your assets; only you and your spouse or partner and the trained professionals you bring in. What would you rather have?

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