ALTERNATIVE APPROACHESFamily Law Service
Avoiding court & maintaining control of the divorce process.
Many people would prefer that divorce and family law issues remain a personal and private matter rather than a legal event. Litigated divorces can be inappropriate for parties who wish to resolve their issues on a basis more suitable to their individual circumstances. The adversarial system can be long, costly, rancorous, and very public. Both Mediation and Collaborative Law address these concerns.
In mediated divorces, couples choose an impartial third party to facilitate resolution of the disputed aspects of a divorce. While remaining neutral and impartial, mediators promote voluntary agreement. Versus litigated divorce, mediated divorces:
- Enable self determination
- Are more likely to result in satisfied clients who, in turn, are more likely to comply with the provisions of a divorce settlement
- Are twice as likely to result in improved relations between the parties, which can be critical for the well being of involved children
- Are significantly less expensive
Professionals including psychiatrists, psychologists, family counselors, social workers and lawyers frequently serve as mediators. To ensure that mediation results in a fair as well as an agreeable settlement, WFL believes lawyers should participate either as mediators or as client representatives in mediation. All of WFL attorneys are certified mediators, able to mediate the issues alone, or in co‐mediation with an accountant, a mental health professional, or a social worker. Walther Family Law PC also offers Interest Based Settlement Facilitation (IBSF) an approach we believe addresses some of the pitfalls of traditional mediations.
In a Collaborative Law divorce, both parties are represented by lawyers who have contractually agreed not to participate in court proceedings on this dispute. Each lawyer works proactively on behalf of his or her client, but cooperatively with the spouse and his or her lawyer to settle out of court. Collaborative law differs from Mediation in one very key respect: Mediators must maintain neutrality as they move towards mutually agreeable solutions. But, a mediator’s neutrality can work to the detriment of the “powerless” or financially uninformed party to the divorce. Collaborative lawyers represent the interests of their client vigorously, just not litigiously. Walther Family Law PC has been instrumental in bringing Collaborative Practice to New Mexico and enthusiastically promotes Collaborative Divorce. A fuller description of Collaborative Divorce is found on the Collaborative Divorce page of this website. Walther Family Law attorneys have published many articles on the subject of Mediation and Collaborative law, including Power Imbalances in Divorce Mediation.
If you require legal assistance in any of these areas and would like to schedule an appointment, please phone us at 505 889 8240 (Albuquerque) or 505 984 0097 (Santa Fe) or online through our contact form.