Recently, Bunger & Robertson attorney Jessica L. Merkel completed her interdisciplinary collaborative practice training and joined the Bloomington Association of Collaborative Professionals, Inc. (BACP).
The BACP is a professional organization comprised of attorneys as well as mental health professionals and financial professionals in the Bloomington, Indiana area who work together in utilizing a “collaborative” approach in family law cases. Known more commonly as collaborative divorce, the process differs from more common divorce cases in that it works through a series of meetings instead of court hearings. It also includes three elements that are not required in most divorce case proceedings:
- Shared Information: Both sides agree upfront to share all relevant information equally
- No Court: Both parties and their attorneys promise they will not go to court or threaten to go to court or as part of the divorce.
- Respect for Shared Goals: Before the process begins, both sides and their attorneys discuss shared goals (i.e., minimizing conflict in front of children or other family members) and commit to respecting those goals throughout the process.
Collaborative practice is becoming more popular as it empowers people to resolve legal disputes without the involvement of the court, through interest-based negotiation. It connects those seeking resolution with specially trained professionals in the areas of law, finance and mental health who can educate, support and guide individuals in reaching balanced and lasting agreements. Moreover, collaborative practice aids in reducing conflict and the impact of divorce on children, other family members and various other aspects of people’s lives.
At Bunger & Robertson, we understand divorce or the ending of a long-term relationship is a sensitive and highly personal matter. There is not a “one size fits all” approach to the dissolution of a relationship and that’s why we’re proud to add collaborative law as an alternative to the often destructive and expensive aspects of the traditional court setting.
If the following values are important to you, collaborative law may be an ideal option to consider:
- I want to communicate respectively.
- I want to prioritize the needs of my children.
- My needs and those of my spouse/partner require equal consideration.
- I believe working cooperatively resolves issues.
- It is important to plan for the future.
- I can behave appropriately toward my spouse/partner.
- I want to maintain control of the divorce/separation with my spouse/partner.
To learn more about collaborative law or to connect with attorney Jessica Merkel, contact us today.