Your family is changing as you divorce or separate. You are not sure where to start the process. If you have children, they are your number one concern.
The two most important decisions are:
- which legal process to use
- which attorney to retain to guide you through the process
To make these decisions, you have to know your options and you have to know who you are hiring.
- I started working in the field of family law in 1986
- I have worked with two of the largest divorce litigation firms in Pittsburgh
- I have handled nearly every type of family law case
I can help with the legal issues that arise as you cross the bridge to your new life after separation or divorce.
Pittsburgh can be called the City of Bridges. Just as there are several options to leave the City, there are several options to separate or divorce. The option you select will determine how easily you get to the other side and where you end up.
Your process options are:
- Self-representation: The parties reach their own terms and one party may hire an attorney to draft an agreement. This option can save legal fees, but you risk agreeing to terms without legal advice during the negotiation. You may agree to something that is unfair or legally unenforceable.
- Litigation: The parties hire attorneys to go to court. A judge may ultimately determine the end result. This option is typically the most expensive. It can also damage your family as each side publicly portrays the other side as a bad spouse or parent. Most litigated cases end in settlement and are not decided by a judge. However, many of the agreements are reached on the courthouse steps after each side has spent thousands in legal fees and costs.
- Divorce Mediation: The parties hire a mediator to help them reach a memorandum of understanding. The mediator cannot provide legal advice so attorneys may still be involved. Mediation can be less expensive than litigation.
- Collaborative Law: Each party hires an attorney trained in the collaborative law process to negotiate a settlement without going to court. The agreement is reached in a series of meetings with the attorneys and, in some cases, mental health and/or financial professionals. If either side goes to court, both attorneys must withdraw from representing their clients.
After litigating a few hundred family law cases using the litigation process, I have concluded that the collaborative law process is the preferred option.
- It is likely to be less expensive
- It is private
- It is a controlled process in which each side has the benefit of counsel
- It focuses on the future, not the past
If your goal is to reach an agreement on divorce or separation which both sides can live with while minimizing harm to your family, then the collaborative law process is your best option.
However, if the collaborative law process is not an option in your matter, I also have the knowledge and experience to represent you in the litigation process or to serve as a mediator to help you reach a memorandum of understanding.
For more information on the benefits and risks of each dispute resolution method, feel free to explore this website or give me a call or send an email to set up an appointment to discuss your options.
For the convenience of those in Northern Allegheny County or Butler County, I have meeting space with free parking at 2009 Mackenzie Way, Suite 100, Cranberry Township, PA 16066.