Divorce is a difficult thing for any family. Mediation and the Collaborative Process gives spouses the opportunity to decide the details of their own divorce, allowing for what is best for their family.
Experience as a Divorce Attorney and training in Alternative Dispute Resolution, provided the skills and knowledge base necessary to work as a neutral third party and assist couples working through the issues they need to resolve in their divorce through amicable and cost effective processes.
DIVORCE DURING COVID-19
The current pandemic has resulted in a significant increase in couples divorcing. The stress of the times magnifies already existing issues couples have been struggling to overcome. Couples are contemplating and wondering about their options for divorce.
Mediation and the Collaborative Divorce Process are the only comprehensive methods available to couples who desire the decision making capabilities regarding their divorce. Moreover, during the pandemic, the only way for couples to complete their divorce is through Mutual Agreement. The most effective way to achieve a healthy transition from a marital relationship to co-parents is through Mediation or the Collaborative Process. Connecticut Courts have not comprehensively started hearing litigative matters nor are there any plans for trials. Although these are uncertain times, the ability to be design your divorce and the future of your family after divorce is possible though Mediation and the Collaborative Divorce process.
Zoom conferencing is utilized in both Mediation and the Collaborative Divorce process during the pandemic, providing the necessary personalization needed to keep couples engaged and supported through the divorce process. Clients' if not already familiarized to various interactive platforms, have found the transition to be seamless and beneficial. The stress of scheduling various meetings has been alleviated and replaced with a smoother and more convenient co-ordination of meetings.
MEDIATION AND COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE ATTORNEY
Most Common Issues involved in the divorce process are the following:
Distribution of Property (Assets/Liabilities)
Child Custody and Parenting Time
Success of the family is the ultimate goal in the divorce process. Divorce is a rollercoaster of emotions, my goal for clients is for them to feel safe and knowledgable in an environment of mutual respect that promotes joint resolution. Mediation and Collaborative practice provide a confidential process whereby families can go through their divorce and resolve their legal issues within unique and flexible forums with the professional support of neutral experts. Solutions should bring peace and stability to a tumultuous situation, not elevate the dispute to a war. Utilizing methods of alternative dispute resolution empowers people with the ability to be in control of the design and outcome of their lives, allowing the family unit to continue to function and thrive while their relationship transforms from a spousal to a co-parenting dynamic.
Professional Associations and Membership
Member of IACP - International Academy of Collaborative Professionals
Member of Fairfield County Collaborative Divorce Group
Member of Connecticut Counsel for Non-Adversarial Divorce
Connecticut Bar Association
Fairfield County Bar Association
Member of American Bar Association
Rutgers University - School of Law, Camden, New Jersey J.D., 2000
Indiana University -Bloomington, Indiana
New Jersey, 2000
What is the Mediators Role?
How much will this cost?
The Mediator's role is to be a neutral party that facilitates a respectful and productive dialogue between the divorcing couple. Assisting the divorcing couple in formulating their ideas which can eventually lead to agreements.
Settlement agreements which people determine for themselves are more likely to withstand the test of time versus court ordered divorces.
The cost associated with Mediation is significantly less than litigating a divorce. Divorce mediation relies on and is focused on cooperation and full disclosure. Parties are able to share the expense of a mediator, in comparison to litigation whereby each side hires their own counsel. When parties decide to mediate they are both equally vested in resolving the dispute, which is scheduled when the parties are mutually available. In contrast to litigation which follows the court schedule which is lengthier and appearances are required when assigned regardless of the parties schedules.
How long does it take to mediate a case?
Mediation is almost always faster than going through divorce court. The average amicable case can be resolved through six to eight two-hour mediation sessions during a three to six month time period. More complex cases can take more than six months to complete.
What happens if mediation fails?
Mediation is confidential; therefore, providing a safe environment for the parties. Should the parties agree on most issues, a settlement agreement can be prepared. The remaining issues can be litigated or the clients can determine to take a break and return to mediation at a later date.
What is Collaborative Divorce?
Collaborative Divorce is a method of alternative dispute resolution which offers a process to parties that is non-judgmental and goal oriented. It is interdisciplinary utilizing mental health and financial neutral as well as attorneys. Professionals are focused on the interests of the parties offering more options for settlement. the process is tailored to foster environments that are conducive to everyone's success.
What does a Collaborative Divorce look like?
Collaborative Divorce is unique because each party is represented by a non-adversarial attorney. the parties agree not to litigate and to utilize a team that includes the use of a financial neutral and a mental health professional. With all these professionals involved, the divorce process is supported in a multi-faceted way allowing the couple to make secure and educated decisions about the future of their family.
How long is the process?
There are three main components to a Collaborative Divorce that happen after your initial meeting where all the parties sign an agreement that you are entering into a Collaborative Divorce. First, there is the information gathering, which entails meeting with the Financial Neutral and the Mental Health Professional. Next, is the part of the process whereby we generate options that address the goals and concerns of the parties. This part is the most lengthy part of the process. Lastly, based on the decisions of the parties, we draft a separation agreement. Once this is reviewed and approved by the parties, it, along with the necessary documents, is filed with the court and we await a court date. Then parties go to court with counsel to finalize their divorce.
Is it confidential?
Yes, the Collaborative Divorce process is both confidential and transparent. These contradictory concepts exist side-by-side in the same dispute resolution process because the process is designed to be transparent in the sense that all information that may be important to resolving the dispute must be disclosed. Confidentiality in the Collaborative Divorce process extends to all the information exchanged within the process against the outside world. Confidentiality with your attorney still exists in the Collaborative Divorce. Client's are not precluded from instructing their attorney maintain the confidence of information. However, the transparency requirement assures integrity in the process both from a conflict resolution and from a legal standpoint.
Talking with Trevor and Jill about Collaborative Divorce
Podcast Discussing Collaborative Divorce and Mediation with Rich Heller, LSW
ERICA BURTEN HOCHMAN, ESQ.
MEDIATION AND COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE ATTORNEY
55 Post Road West
Westport, Connecticut 06880
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