Virginia Collaborative Law Attorneys
No matter how you look at it, divorce and family legal matters present complicated challenges. There is typically a great deal of mistrust between the parties involved in a dispute, and expectations can grow beyond what is realistic.
When you choose litigation for a dispute, you are often in for a lengthy battle that can be contentious and very public. Each party hires dueling experts to convince a judge that they are right. Privacy goes out the window as parts of your personal or business life are dissected and probed in a public forum so that one side or another can gain a strategic advantage.
If this scenario sounds awful, that’s because it is for many people who decide to pursue a lengthy and costly court battle. But there is another and more civilized way to get the result you need. It is called Collaborative Law (also known as Collaborative Practice or Collaborative Divorce).
Buck, Toscano & Tereskerz is a firm that is dedicated to helping clients throughout Central Virginia resolve complex family issues without destroying families and livelihoods. Firm partner David Toscano is a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, Virginia Collaborative Professionals, and Central Virginia Collaborative Professionals. To learn more about the collaborative process, contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation.
About Collaborative Law
In the 1990s, a Minnesota attorney named Stuart Webb started the collaborative law process as an alternative to the traditional court-based litigation system. Called “Collaborative Law,” it has quickly grown in popularity and is now practiced in nearly every U.S. state. It has become a particularly useful way to settle family law matters in Virginia now that many other attorneys are participating in the process.
Most people have heard of mediation as an alternative dispute resolution method. Collaborative law has the same goal as mediation – to help people resolve disputes peacefully. But the approach is different. Specifically, there is no mediator involved, and the parties agree to some specific guidelines before embarking on the process.
What to Expect with the Collaborative Law Process
All skilled and ethical attorneys try to settle their cases. But collaborative law has its own set of conventions, methodologies, and rules, which are designed to create an unpressured and safe environment that allows the parties to explore options that may not be conceivable in other settings.
In a collaborative practice:
- Both parties sign a collaborative participation agreement describing the scope and nature of the matter to be addressed;
- Each party must be represented by their own attorney, whose representation will terminate if either party decides to contest an issue in court;
- Both parties agree to voluntarily disclose all relevant and material information to the matter being negotiated;
- Both parties agree to employ good faith efforts in their negotiations to reach a mutually agreeable resolution;
- Both parties may engage financial, child welfare, and mental health professionals and experts whose engagement will terminate should any matter be contested in court; and
- The parties are able to jointly engage other experts as necessary.
Why You Should Consider Collaborative Law
Collaborative law is a desirable model for divorce and other family law issues. But it’s not for everyone or suitable for every legal matter. Some of the reasons collaborative law is preferable to traditional litigation include:
- Peaceful Solutions – Instead of “fighting it out” in the courtroom, collaborative law asks both parties to work together to come up with the best resolution to the outstanding issues. You aren’t left to figure things out on your own. Your attorneys will guide you through the process and enlist the help of qualified experts whenever necessary to provide clarification and a new perspective on the issues at hand.
- Privacy – The courtroom is a public forum where the intimate details of your life and the disagreements you have with the other party are laid out for all to see. When you choose collaborative law, discussions are held in private instead of in open court. This allows a more open and honest exchange of information. And, unlike with traditional litigation, your agreement may not necessarily need to be made part of the public record.
- Cost-Effective – Collaborative law is simply more efficient than litigation. It takes less time and resources. You probably won’t have to schedule multiple hearings and depositions to get ready for court. All of this means that you will save money resolving your family law or other legal conflict.
- Team Approach – When you are involved in a legal conflict, you aren’t likely to view your adversary as a member of your “team.” But collaborative law takes a different approach. Your team consists of both parties, their respective attorneys, and any neutral experts and professionals hired to advance communication and help the parties reach an agreement.
- Creative Solutions – The collaborative process allows for creative, flexible solutions to family law matters. The team is able to explore options that go beyond the typical legal framework by incorporating the experience and knowledge of various professionals. Clients who participate are urged to consider the best interests of their family, particularly when there are any children involved.
Speak With a Virginia Collaborative Law Attorney
At Buck, Toscano & Tereskerz, our firm has a proven track record of delivering strong representation to clients in complex personal and financial matters. We take pride in our dedication to client service and high standards of professional integrity.
David Toscano has extensive knowledge and experience with collaborative law and understands what works and what doesn’t with this approach. Accordingly, rather than attempt to fit you into a cookie-cutter process that will prove frustrating, we can recommend solutions that will fit your situation’s unique needs.
If you are interested in learning more about the collaborative law process, we can meet for a consultation and outline your options. Whether you choose to move forward with a collaborative approach or something else, there’s a good chance we can provide the assistance you need.
Call our Charlottesville office today at (434) 977-7977 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation.