Mediation + Collaborative Divorce


New Canaan Mediation Lawyer

Not all marriages last. According to the data cited by the American Psychological Association (APA), nearly half of married couples end up getting divorced. Going through a separation is rarely easy. You have probably heard plenty of horror stories about divorce.

While it is challenging, most divorcing couples are looking to find an amicable and cost-effective solution. Indeed, only a small percentage of divorces in Connecticut are resolved through litigation. Other methods—including divorce mediation and collaborative divorce—offer a potential answer.

At The Family Law Firm Healy Eliot + McCann, we have extensive experience representing clients in divorce mediation and collaborative divorce proceedings in Connecticut. With a focus on personalized representation, our law firm is committed to helping our clients find the solution that works best for them.

If you have questions about mediation or collaborative divorce, we are more than happy to sit down for a conversation. Call our New Canaan law office today at 203-652-8018 or connect with us directly here to schedule your strictly confidential, no-obligation initial consultation.

Divorce Mediation - What to Expect

Mediation is a process whereby a divorcing couple agrees to utilize the services of a single neutral professional to help them reach an out-of-court settlement, as opposed to each party hiring his or her lawyer for individual representation. 

Our New Canaan divorce mediation lawyers work directly with you and your spouse, serving as your neutral guide for divorce in Connecticut. Our role as your mediator is to help you and your spouse reach a comprehensive agreement resolving all important issues emanating from your marriage, such as property division, alimony, child support, and child custody.

Our New Canaan mediation lawyers have the experience and backgrounds to help divorcing spouses arrive at an agreement that allows both parties to walk away feeling comfortable knowing that the agreement reached is fair and equitable and in the best interest of their children.

Our New Canaan mediation lawyers have also successfully mediated post-judgment disputes between ex-spouses.  These issues include the reconciliation of alimony, child support, and/or children's expenses or modifications to a parenting plan after a substantial change in circumstances since the date of divorce. 

What Are The Benefits of Divorce Mediation in Connecticut?

For some couples preparing to end their marriage, mediation offers significant advantages. As it is a structured process, it can help a divorcing couple move towards a mutually agreeable solution. Here are four of the most commonly cited benefits of divorce mediation in Connecticut:

  1. Efficiency: It is generally much faster and far less expensive to finalize a divorce through mediation instead of litigation.
  2. Flexibility: Mediation is a flexible process—meaning parties retain considerable control. You can work with your spouse to find a solution that makes sense for the specific circumstances of your marriage and family.
  3. Non-Adversarial: With mediation, parties are not meant to be “opposing” each other. Instead, cooperative problem-solving is emphasized. This can be helpful because divorcing couples who use mediation are often better able to maintain relationships.
  4. Voluntary: You can always try divorce mediation to see if it works. You are not required to stick to the mediation process if you are simply spinning your wheels. Parties to mediation have the right to withdraw at any time.

Mediation is not a Good Fit for Everyone

While mediation can be a good option for some divorcing couples, it is important to understand that this process is not appropriate in all cases.  This is because a successful mediation process is dependent upon the existence of certain factors which are not present in every case. Our New Canaan divorce mediation lawyers know that for a mediation to be successful, the following must be satisfied:

  • There must be a high degree of trust between the divorcing parties
  • Each party must have a full understanding of all relevant financial issues
  • Each party must want to get divorced
  • The parties must be willing to approach their divorce with a shared spirit of cooperation
  • There cannot be a substantial power imbalance between the parties. Such a dynamic can result in a “stronger” spouse steamrolling a “weaker” spouse who may be unwilling or unable to advocate on their own behalf

New Canaan Collaborative Divorce Lawyer

What is Collaborative Divorce and How does it Differ from Mediation?

Collaborative divorce is another alternative for divorcing parties who wish to avoid potential litigation.  However, unlike mediation, where a neutral third party facilitates negotiations between divorcing parties and tries to help them settle their case, in the Collaborative divorce model, each party retains his or her own lawyer for individual representation.

The Collaborative divorce model is designed to allow divorcing parties to each have a lawyer advocating on their behalf, while also maintaining a shared commitment to work towards a negotiated settlement.

Collaborative Divorce Explained

In the Collaborative divorce model, the lawyers representing either party agree to try and help the parties resolve all issues emanating from a marriage utilizing only cooperative rather than adversarial methods.  As part of this shared commitment to achieving a negotiated settlement, the parties and their lawyers enter into a binding agreement.

This agreement specifically provides that the Collaborative lawyers working with either party as well as any other professional Collaborative team members will be disqualified from participating in litigation if the Collaborative process terminates without an agreement being reached. 

The theory behind the mandatory “disqualification” element of the process is that it helps facilitate settlement by removing the threat of litigation as an option and as a negotiating tool.

Other essential elements of the Collaborative process include commitments from both parties to adhere to the following:

  1. Both parties must be completely transparent concerning all financial information and voluntarily disclose all relevant information
  2. Both parties must pursue mutual problem solving
  3. Both parties must work towards arriving at a mutually beneficial resolution

The “Cons” Of The Collaborative Divorce Model

The Collaborative divorce process is not without downsides.  Many parties who pursue Collaborative divorce believe that it will be faster and less expensive than a conventional divorce.  While that may be true in some cases, in other instances working in the Collaborative model can actually lead to a more drawn-out and expensive divorce process. 

Here is why; if the Collaborative process is unsuccessful, each party needs to retain a brand-new lawyer, who must then learn all of the details of your case from scratch.  Whatever time and expense devoted by the parties to the Collaborative process becomes a “sunken cost.”  This is a significant consideration in weighing whether the Collaborative model is right for you and your spouse.

Do I Need To Pursue Mediation Or Collaborative Divorce To Avoid Litigation?

Absolutely not.  It is critical for anyone considering which divorce process to pursue to understand that contentious litigation is not, by any means, the only alternative to mediation or Collaborative divorce.

 It is estimated that more than 95% of cases are resolved by an out-of-court settlement.  A significant number of such cases are resolved with both parties and their lawyers working collaboratively and cooperatively to achieve a common goal of arriving at a fair and equitable negotiated settlement.

While all of our New Canaan divorce lawyers are top-notch litigators, we much prefer to resolve cases for our clients efficiently and cost-effectively by working collaboratively with our colleagues on the other side of our cases to reach equitable negotiated settlements.  Working in such a manner with our adversary counsel does not compromise our ability to advocate for our clients zealously in any manner.

It merely means that we can move cases along efficiently without having our clients (and their spouses) incur legal fees unnecessarily by arguing about trivial issues or causing unnecessary delays.

Provided that both parties wish to work collaboratively, and provided that each side is working with the right kind of lawyer, there is no reason why lawyers should not proceed collaboratively.  We work collaboratively and cooperatively as a first option, and litigate when necessary and warranted.

Should you choose to pursue a Collaborative divorce process, our highly experienced New Canaan divorce lawyers would act as your individual representative and advocate, while working with your spouse's lawyer to negotiate a mutually agreeable settlement.

Connect with One of Our Experienced New Canaan Divorce Mediation Lawyers Today

At The Family Law Firm Healy Eliot + McCann, we are here to help you find the solution that works best for you and your family. Should you choose to pursue a Mediation or Collaborative divorce process, our highly experienced New Canaan divorce mediation lawyers would act as your individual representative and advocate, while working with your spouse's lawyer to negotiate a mutually agreeable settlement.

You do not have to go through the divorce process alone. Professional representation is just a phone call away. To schedule an in-person or virtual appointment with one of our New Canaan divorce mediation lawyers, please call 203-652-8018, or complete our online contact form. We represent clients throughout all of Fairfield County, including in Danbury, Norwalk, Bridgeport, Stamford, Greenwich, Stratford, Shelton, Newtown, Trumbull, Monroe, Bethel, and Ridgefield.

The Family Law Firm of Healy + Eliot

The Family Law Firm of Healy + Eliot is a boutique firm devoted exclusively to the practice of family law, including divorce, alimony, child support, property distribution, child custody and access, pre- and post-nuptial agreements, modifications and enforcement proceedings.