Family law is a broad area of practice which includes dissolution/divorce, legal separations, parenting plan/custody matters, relocation of the children, child support, spousal maintenance, property issues, debt issues, modifications of parenting plans and child support orders, prenuptial agreements, post-nuptial agreements and more.
Family law matters are personal, emotional, and often painful to confront. When the family falls apart, chaos often follows for the parents and for the children. If you or a loved one is contemplating ending a marriage or committed relationship or dealing with any family law matter, you should know that there are different methods of resolving family law matters. The methods are practiced by our firm include: litigation, mediation, and collaborative law. Our firm handles all three methods.
Litigation: The first method is litigation. Litigation gives the Judge/Court Commissioner the power to decide the temporary and final orders in your case. You and the opposing party argue your respective positions in open court. The Court decides the outcome. It is often the case that neither side gets what he or she wants. However, both sides get their private matters discussed in open court in front of unknown individuals; and, both sides lose their power to resolve their issues privately, respectfully, and with the best interests of both parties. It is important to recognize that litigation can be costly both emotionally and financially and in the end there are no winners. The litigation method typically requires a mandatory settlement conference prior to proceeding to trial; however, the value of this process is impacted by the emotional and financial traumas of the many months it took to get to the settlement conference. There are those cases which should be litigated, such as when the parties are unable to communicate, there is no common ground, there is no trust or other similar barriers to resolution exist. If litigation is the best process for your case, know that Josephson & Associates will fight for you and your interests throughout the court litigation.
Mediation: Another approach to resolution of your family law matter is that of mediation. In mediation, the family law matter is resolved by the parties with the assistance of a mediator who may facilitate resolution or who may evaluate the facts of the case and act as a directive mediator who encourages resolution based on the likelihood of success before a judge. Facilitative mediation promotes dispute resolution based on the parties’ good faith desire to work together as opposed to resolution coerced by fear of court or the other person. Josephson & Associates will assist you in mediating your family law dispute without court litigation. We will assist you in reaching an agreement which works for both of you. We will assist you in drafting the agreements reached and assist you in the legalities of reaching a lawful agreement.
Collaborative Law: Collaborative law offers an alternative to litigation and to mediation. Certainly, litigation cannot be the only way to resolve disputes, and even the State of Washington recognizes this reality. In 2013, the Washington State Legislature adopted the Collaborative Law Act as a process by which the parties could resolve their family law dispute respectfully and out of court. Collaborative lawyers and other collaborative professionals complete intensive training in mediation and in the collaborative process; and they are required to take continuing education courses in this area. Collaborative law is not only valuable in resolving family law matters, but other matters as well. In the Collaborative Law Process both parties must be represented by collaborative lawyers. Collaborative Law is successful because it requires that a container of full disclosure and mutual respect. At its base, the lawyers and parties create a team. Other collaborative professionals can join the team to assist the parties in resolving their disputes collaboratively without threat of litigation looming overhead. The collaborative process promotes:
- recognizing and acknowledging the needs of both parties;
- the parties crafting a resolution which meets the parties’ needs;
- providing for the best interests of the children;
- uncoupling respectfully so that you can both move on with your lives in a manner which teaches your children respect for both parents and that it is okay to love;
- using a team of professionals to help the parties heal and move on–there are divorce coaches to help deal with the disappointment and hurt; there are child specialists to help the children understand their parents’ divorce and to give the children a voice in the process; there are financial specialists to assist with the financial issues of the divorce and post-divorce realities; and there are family specialists to help parents co-parent after the divorce and children deal with the changed family dynamics;
- out-of-court resolution of the family law disputes/matters; and
- resolution by the parties rather than by the Courts.
The Collaborative Law Process is an alternative way to divorce and to deal with family law matters. There are those seasoned family law attorneys and judges who do not believe that the collaborative approach is realistic. There are those who argue that collaborative divorces are less expensive than litigated divorces and there are those who argue that collaborative divorces are more expensive. The truth of the matter is that each case is unique, because the parties have their own emotional baggage, hurts, strengths and weaknesses. Litigation does not, by its design, promote healing or any form of catharsis. The Collaborative Law Process, by its very design, promotes healing and growth. The Process does not avoid the hurts and disappointments which come with the reality that the parties could not sustain their marriage and their family as one cohesive unit. It is for that reason that collaboratively trained specialists are available in the process to help the parties and their children move on in a healthy way. Typically, in Collaborative Law matters, the team works together to resolve all matters prior to the filing the dissolution action. If the Collaborative Process is right for you, Josephson & Associates will be your advocate and active team member in representing your interests and needs in the collaborative resolution of your family law matter.