Options to Stay out of Court



Many people can talk to each other even if they cannot agree on the legal issues. Parties may want to talk about many of the issues in an informal situation. I provide eBooks and Worksheets to help you decide on many issues so your legal fees are spent with your attorney on the very important issues. Those issues are different for each case. 



 If you still have issues that you need to discuss with a 3rd-party, mediation is a good process for many cases. It usually costs less than litigation and can prevent many of the emotionally draining aspects of the legal system, because the parties are deciding it and not the Judge or legal system. An attorney is still very useful in this process. 



If your situation needs a complex multi-step process with the assistance of attorneys and keeping everything still private, collaborative law could be the best option. This is similar to mediation, but all parties must have attorneys along with other case specific professionals to guide the process.  

Types of Cases to STAY OUT OF COURT

Personal Disputes like Divorce


 A court battle is not the only way to end a marriage or other relationship with assets and children. Learn how to get through the breakup without destroying the friendship and more importantly the future you will have as co-parents and co-grandparents.  

Business Disputes like Business Dissolution


 Many business partners were friends before they decided to combine forces for a dream. Learn how you may dissolve the business while maintaining friendships and other business relationships including your reputation.  

Other Disputes


 There are many disputes between people who do not have ongoing relationships.  

OPTIONS TO STAY OUT OF COURT - Mediation & Collaborative Divorce Law

1. Preliminary Meeting

We will meet together in a preliminary meeting to decide if mediation will work for your legal matter at this time. When a a dispute arises there are many emotions and uncertainties. In this meeting, I will provide a detailed map of the mediation process. I will ask questions to see if both parties will benefit by the mediation process. We will discuss if your attorneys will be part of all the steps, only if needed, or only at the end. 

2. Gather Information

Once hired, I will give you each access to the Secured Portal to provide financial information along with several worksheets to complete and a dissolution plan worksheet with various options. 

3. Financial Spreadsheets and Budgets

I will create an estate spreadsheet and post-dissolution budget for each of you along with several proposed plans. Mediation only works if both parties are truthful and produce everything needed from your family. 

4. Individual Meetings

I will meet with each of you individually to review your  worksheets, the financial spreadsheets, post-dissolution budgets, and other plans. You will come up with a list of issues to address at the Joint Negotiation Session and, hopefully, will talk to your partner about these issues before the next session. These meetings can be held right before the Joint Negotiation Session. If there are many issues, we may decide to have many specific Joint Negotiation Sessions to cover each issue. 

5. Joint Negotiation Session

I will meet with both of you to identify any remaining problems to generate options with the goal of reaching an agreement detailing your estate division and other plans. You and your partner will create and sign a document either named a "Settlement of Meetings" or a "Mediated Settlement Agreement." 

6. Complete the legal process

You will take the "Settlement of Meetings" or "Mediated Settlement Agreement" to an attorney to complete the legal process. 


1. Educate yourself

Become Educated About the Collaborative Process. Review the materials and resources on our Resources page, and our FAQs page. Read the Divorce Kit

2. Find the Right Professional

Some people are most concerned about the impact of divorce on their children, some about their finances, and some about their communication. You can learn about the Collaborative process and how it would address those concerns by interviewing, individually or together, any Collaborative professionals: an attorney, neutral child specialist, neutral coach, or neutral financial specialist. Cristal Robinson can be hired as a neutral coach or neutral financial specialist. 

3. Share with your spouse or partner

Introduce Collaborative Practice to your spouse or partner. Collaborative divorce is a voluntary process. It is important for both of you to agree that Collaborative is the best process for you to use to get through your divorce. If your relationship with your partner is cordial, you can give him or her information about the process and the website references.

Your partner might be more likely to appreciate the information if it comes from a source other than you. Brainstorm ideas with the Collaborative professional you interview for ways to inform your partner about Collaborative divorce. You know your partner better than anyone. Think about what approach would be most effective in introducing the Collaborative process to your partner.

4. Assemble your team

Once you and your partner have agreed to use the Collaborative process, you will each retain your attorney and meet with him or her prior to a first joint meeting. It is optimal to select and meet with your neutral coach prior to the first joint meeting so that the coach can facilitate this session.

5. Schedule a Joint First Meeting

At the first joint meeting, meaning, the first meeting in which you meet with your entire Collaborative team, you will sign the Collaborative Participation Agreement, identify your major goals and concerns, and plan the next steps of your process. If you have not already hired a coach, financial specialist, or neutral child specialist, you will make decisions about assembling the rest of your team at this time.

6. Complete the plan and finalize the Divorce

Each relationship is different and each separation and divorce will be different. The whole team will follow a plan to resolve all the issues and finalize the separation and divorce together.