Frustrating courtroom disputes, angry parents, confused children, and lengthy divorce proceedings don’t have to be part of your divorce story. Thanks to the benefits of the Collaborative Law process, you can settle your divorce a better way.
Henry + Dow is proud to have Melissa Fell, an experienced family lawyer and Collaborative attorney who is well versed and professionally trained in the area of Collaborative Process and certified in Family and Divorce Mediation. Melissa believes it is not always necessary for all civil and family disputes to end up in the lengthy and often contentious litigation arena. Her efforts to grow in this area of practice prove her dedication to helping families settle divorce and other disputes in the most agreeable way possible.
What is Collaborative Process, you may ask?
Designed to help families resolve disputes in a civil manner, collaborative law provides the ability, through a mediation type process, to find solutions outside of the courtroom. In an effort to promote teamwork and cooperation, the parties each work with an attorney and other team members including at least one mental health professional, trained in Collaborative Process to address the issues and come to agreements on their terms.
In the case that there are children involved and/or extensive financial parameters that need to be in place, collaborative process trained child specialists as well as financial experts can be part of the process accordingly.
The attorneys, assist in the process, to guide and advise in gathering information, communication and team problem solving in order to assist the parties through the transition of the divorce.
“I found in my training, as I have in my litigation practice, that involving experts in their specific fields to create a team approach provides the best opportunity for an outcome that works for the parties, and the whole family unit,” Fell said.
Why Collaborative Process?
From the simplest to the most complex cases, Collaborative Process has many benefits. It is especially appropriate for those who want to keep their private lives private since what happens in Collaborative Process isn’t documented and filed like it is in the courtroom for civil proceedings. With the easy access of the Internet to find out peoples’ personal information, collaborative law is the ideal way to go to ensure that the details of your divorce are kept out of the public eye. Only those involved in the confidential process can make the decisions and come to agreements that work best for you and your family. Most important for families going through divorce, is the ability to preserve a working relationship in order to co-parent children. This is central to the tenets of Collaborative Process for families going through the transition of changing the family dynamic, and why the team always consists of at least one mental health professional to help guide the parties to improved communication skills.
“It gives ownership of the whole process and the outcome to the parties,” Fell said. “I have spent a great deal of time getting to know some of the collaborative professionals in our area as an active member of the Oklahoma Academy of Collaborative Professionals and as a Board member and Officer, as well as a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, and I am convinced that the professionals in this group are all as invested as I am to revolutionize the practice of law.”
Additionally, there can be significant financial benefits to collaborative law over traditional litigation for resolving disputes. With being able to address issues head-on, instead of waiting on court dates and lengthy procedures, time and money can be saved for both parties in the end as well as allowing the parties to pace the process on their own terms, rather than that set by processes outside of their control.
Finally and most importantly, the benefit of collaborative law ultimately boils down to the much more positive impact it has on the families involved. While traditional litigation can be timely, contentious and detrimental to long term relationships for the parties and children, Collaborative Process focuses on teamwork and cooperation to find what fits the best interest of all parties.