Monday, February 5, 2021

Judges see benefits of collaborative divorce process

In a recent article published in the Springfield, Massachusetts "Republican," two experienced familiy law judges go on record as supporters of collaborative divorce as the wise way to get professional assistance during separation and divorce. Judges know what you can expect from the traditional 0ld-style court-based divorces, and they don't recommend you try it.

Here is an excerpt from the article:

"Judge David G. Sacks, probate and family court judge in Hampden County for more than 20 years, has seen significant change in the family court from his seat on the bench, but his admonition to those who appear before him on contested matters has remained the same: "This is the last chance you have to control your own destiny."

Sacks strongly believes that the parties themselves can do a better job in writing the script for their future than he can.

Judge Gail S. Perlman, probate and family court judge in Hampshire County, has observed that over the last two to three decades the legal system has come to see that the traditional way of solving problems in the courts is not the best way for families to solve their problems. "The traditional legal system is a legal necessity but not the tool of choice. Mediation and collaborative law often serve families better, and I welcome that," she said.

Both Sacks and Perlman have taken notice that, in general, the parties who successfully participate in a collaborative divorce appear to have benefited from working productively in a process that assisted them in reaching an agreement without the time, expense and emotional turmoil of traditional litigation.

In particular, cases involving children require some urgency in establishing stability, and collaborative law provides an opportunity to jointly engage a child specialist to ensure that the children's needs are addressed. "Any tool that helps families maintain ways of being parent partners post-divorce is positive," Perlman said.

Perlman has made some inquiries of parties who present a separation agreement after participating in a collaborative divorce process. She asks if the parties are satisfied with the collaborative process and has found that they are uniformly positive about it.

"I have noticed a difference in the way the parties present themselves. I see two people who are comfortable, who have used the process to establish open communication," she said.

Sacks sees the collaborative law movement as one of the many positive changes taking place in the family court. "The process of litigation is not a panacea," he said.

Sacks has found that alternative dispute resolution, including collaborative law, can provide more predictable results and can be more economical for families."

You can find the article at: