Diane D. Hitzemann, Mediator and Collaborative Attorney

Process Options

If you and your partner have decided to separate or divorce, or if you are involved in a dispute with a family member, you now must decide in what manner you want to resolve the matter and what attorney you choose to help you.

Collaborative Law also called Collaborative Divorce or Collaborative Practice

  • Combines the positive problem solving focus of interest-based mediation with the lawyer advocacy and counsel of traditional representation.
  • For parties who don’t want a “battle,” but need legal representation due to power imbalances, disparity in understanding financial information and/or the ability to negotiate for oneself.
  • Settlement by agreement is the sole purpose and goal of the legal representation; the lawyers and parties sign a Participation Agreement which provides that if the parties are unable to reach a mutually acceptable settlement, the lawyers will withdraw and assist the clients in transitioning the case to trial attorneys
Learn more about collaborative law.

Mediation

  • Voluntary and confidential process where parties in a dispute find mutually acceptable outcomes which serve their individual interests.
  • The mediator, who may or may not be a lawyer, functions as a neutral facilitator and is not an advocate for either party.
  • A mediator does not give legal advice—that is the role of each party’s attorney.
Learn more about mediation.

Uncontested Divorce

  • For couples who decide to divorce and are able to resolve their differences and come to an Agreement without professional help.
  • An attorney is chosen to write up their Agreement and file the legal paperwork.

Traditional Divorce

  • Pits confused, fearful and angry parties one against the other.
  • Competitive attorneys trained to advocate zealously on behalf of one and against the other are hired to represent the parties.
  • The common language is one of conflict, and resolution is seen in terms of “winners” and “losers.”
  • Most traditional divorces eventually end in a settlement agreement negotiated through the attorneys, but often the destructive nature of the adversarial process has already taken its toll on the family.