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Alternative Dispute Resolution – Resolving Divorce Disputes through Agreement

Before you file (or fail at) a lawsuit…
Before the verdict comes down (or knocks you down)… 

ADR which was developed in the United States and Canada offers a different way of resolving disputes within the family and outside the courtroom. Lately we have seen the beginnings of this process of mediation being used here in Israel.  

What is "ADR"?

ADR – collaborative legal proceedings through mediation is a way to help couples dissolve their marriage/relationship in agreement outside the courtroom, with maximum support for each of the couple and their children. Using specialists when needed in an open, fair and respectful manner, where at the end of the day the couple are the ones who make the decisions and not the court.

One method is having each one of the couple represented by a lawyer, whereby the lawyers and the couple agree beforehand to deliberate out of court. The couple commits to do everything possible for the benefit of the children, for full financial disclosure and a willingness to be helped by other professionals if needed. Another method is by having both partners undergo mediation with one common mediation lawyer.

The uniqueness of the collaborative process of legal representation - that is, ADR, is to define in advance that only the process of collaboration will be used.
The couple and the lawyers agree in advance that the lawyers will represent the couple only in a collaborative process. This agreement is signed by both sides and states that the lawyers cannot represent their clients in court, if the ADR does not succeed. 
 
A Case History:

Itzik and Dina came to me after a number of proceedings in court. The proceedings were not successful. They asked me if it was worthwhile to try mediation, and what are the advantages to mediation. In addition, the question that bothered them was if the ADR procedure would not be successful and they would have to return to the courtroom, could the evidence and situation presented to the mediation lawyer be used against them in the future in court. 

I shared with them my opinion regarding the advantages of ADR over the courtroom as follows:

It saves time – the procedure is shorter
It saves money – the lawyer fees are lower
There is full disclosure – which does not always occur in court
The decisions are made by the couple and not the court
Court proceedings are very often emotionally exhausting for the couple
There is the option of support from additional professionals like child psychologists, family/couple therapists, and financial experts
And the most important thing is that all sides work together as a team, where the common goal is to help the couple in their separating process.
In addition, I assured them that according to the "ADR contract" all discussions during the mediation are confidential. 
ADR is suitable in cases where the couple can negotiate between themselves on a more or less equal footing. It is also suitable for couples that do not have a relative high level of conflict between them. 
In those cases where the conflict level is high or one partner is more powerful and the two sides cannot come to an agreement amongst themselves, there is no choice but to go to court.   
 
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